Free Yourself From Needing Others’ Approval

Dear Life Coach Laura,

My cousin is getting married soon. Due to covid-19, she moved her wedding to her parent’s house in our hometown. My brothers aren’t attending due to coronavirus concerns. My mom doesn’t want to go because of long term underlying family tensions. My dad wants to support his niece and brother’s family. My parents are the primary caretakers of both their parents and I’m worried about them getting the virus, or worse, unknowingly spreading it to my at-risk grandparents. Any advice on how I can voice my concerns, address all of their needs, and keep everyone happy?


Worried in Raleigh

Dear Worried,

Free Yourself from Needing the Approval of Others.

Since we were children, most of us learned that it could be advantageous to make others happy. Most children want the approval of their parents, teachers, and peers. We tend to carry that same tendency into adulthood. While it’s natural to seek others’ approval, it might not be for the best.

Being a strong and free person includes the ability to move freely through the world without excessive concern about others’ opinions. 

Live life on your own terms with these tips: 

1. Learn to say what you think. If you’re concerned about others’ opinions, you’ve probably developed a habit of keeping your opinion to yourself.

2. Take the time to appreciate yourself. Keep a few minutes each day to remind yourself of all the things you like about yourself. If you can approve of yourself, you’ll be less likely to need approval from others.

3. Remind yourself that it’s impossible to make everyone happy. So no matter what you do, there will always be someone who doesn’t like you. 

4. If you feel that another person is being unreasonable, consider confronting them in a calm, reasonable manner.

5. Before taking action, ask yourself if you’re primarily doing it to receive approval. Did you choose that path forward because you think it’s what you should do or because it’s what you actually want to do?

We all seek the approval of others from time to time. But allowing that need to control your thoughts and behavior makes life less enjoyable and more challenging.

The first step to changing approval-seeking thoughts and behavior is recognizing them as they occur. With a little work, you’ll find that the disapproval you’ve been avoiding has much less impact than you thought! It’s simply not a big deal. Free yourself from needing the approval of others. You’ll be glad you did!

Feeling stuck? Ask Life Coach Laura! Send your questions and problem scenarios to All submissions are 100% confidential. Selected questions will be anonymously published and the submitter will win a free 30-minute laser coaching session with Laura ($85 value!)

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