Are you "an approval addict"? Are you controlled by the fear of others' opinions of you? Welcome to my world. There are a number of reasons people become "approval addicts". It can be that your parents disciplined by withdrawing their affection when you misbehave. But that certainly isn't the only reason. If you get sucked in to this trap, however, it will completely control your life, just like any other addiction. Some are completely controlled by how others view their appearance. They seek surgical options or workout and diet options in order to become "good enough".
Satan has a lie that he has propogated through the ages: Self-Worth=performance+Other's opinions. According to this lie, a persons worth is totally dependent upon how hard they work and how others view the results. The problem with this equation is that peoples opinions are fluid and you never know if you've done enough work to be "of worth". So you try harder! But then, even though 100 people express approval, it only takes the disapproval of one person to totally ruin your day. For the rest of the day, and maybe even the week or longer, that comment in replayed over and over in your mind and controls your mood and your behavior. Eventually, this addiction leads to depression as you can never be totally pleasing to others and are therefore "worthless" in your own eyes.
The question that we need to ask ourselves is this: "why do I value the opinion of those who do not hold me in high regard?" You see, there is an opinion of us that is infinitely more important. It is an opinion where we are held in the highest regard. God considers you of inestimable value and thus gave His Son to purchase you. When you and I received Christ and committed our lives to Him, our sins were completely forgiven. Forgiveness equals acceptance. Acceptance equals worth. God decided you were "worth it" so He gave His son in your place.
The Bible says that God is Love. Using that description of God's Character, look at 1 Corinthians 13 and see your heavenly Father as He is.
My Father is very patient and kind. My Father is not envious, never boastful. My Father is not arrogant. My Father is never rude, nor is He self-seeking. My Father is not quick to take offense. My Father keeps no score of wrongs. My Father does not gloat over my sins but is always glad when truth prevails. My Father knows no limit to His endurance, no end to His trust. My Father is always hopeful and patient.
(Robert S. McGee. The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes (p. 74). Kindle Edition.)
Looking at 1 Corinthians in this way, I hope you can see that true love, God's love, holds you in ultimate regard and treats you accordingly. In contrast, the people that have been controlling your life have done so by behaving in exactly the opposite way that 1 Corinthians describes.
The desire for success and approval constitutes the basis of an addictive, worldly self-worth. Certainly, withdrawal from this dependency may cause us some pain as we change the basis of our self-worth, yet we will begin to discover true freedom and maturity in Christ only when we understand that our lives mean much more than what success or the approval of others can bring. We can do nothing to contribute to Christ's free gift of salvation; furthermore, if we base our self-worth on the approval of others, then we are actually saying that our ability to please others is of greater value than Christ's payment. We are the sinners, the depraved, the wretched, and the helpless. He is the loving Father, the seeking, searching, patient Savior who has made atonement for the lost and has extended to us His grace and sonship. We add nothing to our salvation. It is God who seeks us out, convicts us of sin, and reveals Himself to us. It is God who gives us the very faith with which to accept Him. Our faith is simply our response to what He has done for us. So then, our worth lies in the fact that Christ's blood has paid for our sins; therefore, we are reconciled to God.
Robert S. McGee. The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes (p. 69). Kindle Edition.
I hope this helps to heal or at least bring those of us who need healing, to take a true look in the mirror and respond.
It is very difficult to acknowledge that I have fallen victim to Satan's trap, but I freely confess that my fear of rejection has become the primary motivator in my life rather than the truth of how much You love me. To quote Thomas, "Lord I believe. Forgive my unbelief". I know everything that I've written today is true. I don't know exactly how to embrace it and let it become the driving force in my life. Therefore I need your help and guidance as I learn to accept your approval as the only approval that matters. Help me to understand "who I am" in Christ so that I can experience the joy and peace that Christ promised this relationship would bring. I do not know how to do this on my own and freely admit I am completely dependent on you to 'save me'. Help others who are going through this same struggle. I fear there are many. Heal me and use my experience to heal others if that is your desire. Thank you! I love you!