Sunday, 24 October 2010

Strategies for Breaking Approval Dependence (BAD)

You have Serious Approval Dependence (SAD) and you know how you got it! By dint of your biological inheritance and how you were socialised you have constructed the very debilitating core belief that your worth depends on how others view you or how well you perform in your work, study, sex etc. If you have concocted this warped and destructive belief then you can deconstruct it and replace it with USA, Unconditional Self Acceptance. How do you do this? By self-awareness, vigilance and hard work, that’s how!

1. Know how you are feeling.
2. Understand that your feelings and behaviour are connected to your thinking.
3. Identify your habits of believing.
4. Decide whether or not your thinking is helpful, rational.
5. Challenge your beliefs with vigour.
6. Be forever vigilant.

Activating event (A)

You are a member of a parent group at your child’s school and you are generally happy to sit and listen at meetings. There are times when you have been inclined to say something about an issue of interest to you but you always stop yourself from saying what you want to say. You notice how anxious you feel; your heart races and you begin to sweat a little. You stop yourself from commenting as the opportunity goes by, and you castigate yourself for wimping out. Typical you think.

Is this scenario a repeat of many over the years where opportunity has gone begging and been missed, when the nettle was there to be grasped and you chose to avoid it. Is this a case of Serious Approval Dependence (SAD)? You bet it is and it’s nigh time you had a one on one with your enemy YOU!

How do you feel and act (C)?

Strategy one: Identify how you were feeling around the time you wanted to say something and how strong? (8/10 anxious). Determine whether this is a healthy negative emotion or a helpful one – does it help or hinder you achieving what you want? Answer: Not healthy because you didn’t do what you wanted to do, share your ideas with the group.

What are you thinking (B)?

Strategy two: Identify your self-talk at the time, what were you saying to yourself? Answer: ‘if I make a mistake, what would they think of me? My views are not that important, they seem more knowledgeable than me. It would be awful if I sounded confused or hesitant. I couldn’t stand it if they thought badly of me.’ This is irrational as it is stopping you from doing what you want to do.

Challenge your thinking (D)

Strategy three: Identify a particular statement and challenge it’s veracity (start a diary and record how you thought, felt and acted in various situations). Lets consider the statement:

‘I couldn’t stand it if they thought badly of me.’

Q. If they disagreed with my views would that equate to them damning me as a person?

A. No. A particular viewpoint is not ‘me’. I am more than what I say.

Q. If they disagreed with me would it be ‘so awful that I couldn’t stand it!’

A. No. It would hardly be catastrophic that someone would disagree with me. Breaking my leg could possibly be worse but even that is not catastrophic or so awful that I couldn’t stand it.

Q. Must others always agree with me? Should they see things as I do for me to be worthwhile?

A. Of course not. My worth is not at question here; my ideas and views may be but they are not ‘me’.

Q. Do I need others to agree with me for me to be worthwhile?

A. No. My worth is not given to me and cannot be taken away. I can only be worth – less if I believe I absolutely must have the approval of others to be worthwhile. I am worthwhile because I exist not because someone else thinks I am!

Q. What benefits could I gain by risking the disapproval of others?

A. I will see that the sun will rise again and the birds will continue to twitter in the treetops. Those who care for me and approve of me unconditionally will continue to do so. Even if I stumble and stutter I will not drop dead. I can practice my public speaking skills if I choose to do so. I will accept that sometimes I will stuff up because I am human and that’s what humans do.

Q. What will happen if I continue not to risk the disapproval of others?

A. I will perpetuate the mythological belief that somehow others views of me determine my worth. I will continue to practice Serious Approval Dependence and remain a ‘wall flower’ at the ball, waiting for someone to pick me!

Eleanor Roosevelt said

No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.

Don’t give anyone or anything permission to determine whether you are worthwhile or not. You don’t need it, you exist and that’s that!

No comments:

Post a Comment