One day I was great, the next day I was feeling awful. Up and down my life would go. I have spent much of my life addicted to the approval of people. I became a Christian almost five years ago and most of that time has been spent working for the approval of Christians around me. Much of my time as an athlete has been spent addicted to the feeling of approval of my coaches, teammates, and peers. When I worked in medical sales, I intrinsically would work for the approval of my boss and leaders of the company. I wanted to be viewed as successful in whatever I did, simply because that gave me a sense of approval and acceptance.
This addiction worked in a lot of ways. It resulted in some success in soccer, academics, and my career. Many of you know my story. For those of you who don’t, I can sum it up in one sentence. I’ve looked like I have had it together my whole life when in reality I was battling with many insecurities and self-image problems. A little over a year ago while battling with depression for nearly a year, I decided I was going to figure out what I needed to do to not be depressed anymore and live my life to the full. During this process one of the things I figured out was that I was addicted to the approval of others. Everything I had done, accomplished, and succeeded at was motivated by the desire for approval and acceptance by people.
What I realized and learned throughout this past year is this approval addiction has left me empty, unfulfilled, and lonely. So you may ask, well what has helped you get past this? It’s simple. Purpose. I still slip back into the feeling of needing the approval of others however I have a much better grip on it now than I did a year ago. I know some people make fun of me for what I am doing, I know some people talk about me behind my back, and I know that some people are also inspired by what I’m doing. I don’t get motivation from any of it. I am not motivated by the negative, and not the positive. Sure the positive makes me feel good but I am no longer battling my identity as a person by the approval from other people. I am motivated by the fact that I am doing what I was put on this earth to do. Honestly, its true freedom.
I am not sure if you struggle with the same thing. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Either way, I encourage you to look at your life and why you have done the things you have done. Did you join that group of friends because you wanted a sense of approval and acceptance? Did you go that career route because that’s what your friends and family approved of? Really look at your life and figure out why you have done and are doing the things you are doing. It is my guess that we all struggle with this to an extent. My addiction was pretty extreme, yours might not be.
How do we solve this problem? Purpose. Its simple. Your purpose. Once you begin to understand why you were put on this earth, you can become motivated by the love of God. You begin to care less about what people think, and more about fulfilling your life’s mission and purpose. This feeling is true freedom because freedom comes from knowing the truth and the truth is you were created not for the approval of others but to fulfill a unique purpose.