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Women World Leaders' Podcast

Mar 11, 2022

This podcast featuring Cindy Jacob Southworth, an AACC Certified relationship coach, shares about the destructive aspects of approval-seeking behaviors and how God’s Word helps us overcome these behaviors. We have to stop believing the lie that we need others’ approval in order to feel good about ourselves and walk in His truth that tells us we are righteous because He is righteous. We are holy, flawless, and restored.



Welcome to Celebrating God’s Grace, a Women World Leaders Podcast. I am your host Cindy Jacob Southworth, an AACC certified relationship coach with Breakwater Ministries, and part of the Women World Leaders leadership team, and I am coming to you from Cindy’s Porch. Today I want to talk to you about the destructive nature of approval seeking behaviors, but first, let’s go to God in prayer.


Father, you created us to be in relationship with one another. Your word clearly teaches us how you see us as your children and how you desire that we relate to others. You are Our Counselor, Redeemer, and Friend. May we glean from your word today.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.



How much time are you spending trying to get someone else’s approval?


I spent the first half of my life trying to get people’s approval. I spent a lot of time wondering and worrying about what people thought of me. Looking to gain other people’s approval can lead us to approval addiction, and the consequences can be costly.


A fear of disapproval can lead to a fear of rejection. In my younger years I just wanted to fit in. I wanted to fit into a certain group of people so badly that I started to compromise my standards to fit in with that group. I found myself engaging in activities that in the past I wouldn’t dream of doing. I was betraying myself in favor of their approval, and as a result, I started disliking myself. Changes would need to be made to start accepting myself again.


Sometimes we find ourselves praising other people just to get them to like us. This is another form of manipulation and will not get us the results we are looking for. Sometimes we can exaggerate the truth to get someone’s approval. We change our looks, our dress code, and a multitude of other things just to get people to like us. The result is we have betrayed ourselves in favor of the other person.



My friend Barbie called me in desperation one day. She said she felt like a soda bottle with six straws sucking out of her, all at the same time. Barbie was an approval addict. She looked like a suffering saint, meeting everyone’s needs and neglecting her own. Barbie’s motivation was to get people to like her, to be everyone’s hero. In the process, she lost herself and lost the ability to take care of her own needs. Barbie thought it was a sign of selfishness to take care of herself. She would need to learn that taking care of oneself is loving herself and it’s okay to love herself.



Love your neighbor as yourself. Often, we love our neighbor so much more than we love ourselves, but it’s because we are seeking their approval. We want and need them to like us so we can feel good about ourselves.


Not only do we do this to ourselves, but the world is full of those who demand our attention in exchange for their acceptance of us. Some have learned the art of manipulation and use it to their advantage. If we don’t learn how to set boundaries in relationships, we will begin to feel used and abused by those around us whose approval we have been seeking.


In my coaching practice I encounter people every day who struggle with loneliness. While we thought that engaging in social media would bring us closer together, the results show quite the opposite. Despite social media, people today experience more loneliness than ever before. People today struggle more than ever with feeling unloved and a fear of being unwanted or unaccepted. Can it be that they are feeling judged by their peers?


We are wanting people to fill a void that can only be filled by God. We are believing the lie that I must be approved by other people in order to feel good about myself.


Ask yourself these questions:


Do you avoid certain types of people?


Do certain types of people make you feel uncomfortable?


Do you become fearful and anxious if you think you might be rejected by someone?


Are you greatly bothered when someone is unfriendly to you?


Are you critical of other people?


Do you find yourself trying to impress people when you are with people you don’t know?


Do you pre-determine what people may think of you?


Do you find yourself not understanding what motivates others?


If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you may be suffering from approval addiction. Our fear of rejection begins to affect our behavior, and we discover that we are not living our authentic calling. We are trying to “fit in” because of our insatiable need for others to like us.


We soon discover that the person we are betraying is ourselves. Our spouse, our children, our inner circle of friends are not getting the real “me,” they are getting the me that is adapting to my environment out of fear of being rejected.


We have to be willing to look at the root of this fear of rejection and allow God to pluck out this bitter root. If we don’t address the real issue, this fear can lead us to behaviors that will ultimately be destructive. We will find ourselves being easily manipulated, being defensive, reacting with hostility when others disagree with us, engaging only in superficial relationships, exaggerating the truth to impress others, becoming passive, and eventually having a nervous breakdown.



Ephesians 2:1-3 (NIV) “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”





Romans 12:2 (TPT) “Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.”


In order to change the way we feel about ourselves, we have to change our thinking. We must tell ourselves the truth of who we are.


Colossians 1:21-22 (TPT) “ Even though you were once distant from him, living in the shadows of your evil thoughts and actions, he reconnected you back to himself. He released his supernatural peace to you through the sacrifice of his own body as the sin-payment on your behalf so that you would dwell in his presence. And now there is nothing between you and Father God, for he sees you as holy, flawless, and restored.”


If God Himself sees me as holy, flawless, and restored, why do I need the approval of anyone else? His word tells me that I am His Child, that I have been redeemed, I am forever free from condemnation, there is nothing that can separate me from Christ, that all things work together for my good, I am the temple of the Holy Spirit, and I am His workmanship.


Knowing that all these things are true, I already have God’s approval. I don’t need anyone else to tell me I am significant. My significance lies in who God says I am, and He delights in me. He delights in you. He is everything you will ever need.



Romans 5:8-11 (TPT) “But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly! And there is still much more to say of his unfailing love for us! For through the blood of Jesus we have heard the powerful declaration, ‘You are now righteous in my sight.’  And because of the sacrifice of Jesus, you will never experience the wrath of God.  So if while we were still enemies, God fully reconciled us to himself through the death of his Son, then something greater than friendship is ours. Now that we are at peace with God, and because we share in his resurrection life, how much more we will be rescued from sin’s dominion! And even more than that, we overflow with triumphant joy in our new relationship of living reconciled to God - all because of Jesus Christ!”


We have been granted this righteousness. Once we begin to see ourselves the way God sees us, we no longer need to feed that old seed of approval. We can make decisions that are right for us, and those who really love us will see us and encourage us to live authentically. We stop allowing others to manipulate us and we set boundaries that protect our health and well-being. Those who love you will respect your boundaries and your own limitations without judgment. There is great freedom in being able to live authentically without fear of rejection.


If you suffer from approval of others, ask God today to help you remove this bitter root that leads to a fear of rejection, and accept His love and acceptance of you.


I would love to hear from you, so drop me an email at   Send me your ideas for relationship advice. What would you like to hear about on this podcast that has to do with marriage? Send me your questions about marriage.


Thank you so much for joining us today—as we celebrate God’s grace in our lives, in this ministry, and the world!



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