05/28/2014 12:10 pm ET Updated Jul 28, 2014

Are You Addicted to Approval? How to Get Past Insecurities in Your Relationships

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By Barbara Greenberg for KnowMore.TV

Are you an approval addict? My guess is that if you're a female above the age of 11 that you find yourself fitting squarely into this category.

Hey, we all want to be liked, but it's another story when you sacrifice your own feelings and needs in an effort to make this happen. And you may even be sacrificing your integrity, authenticity and honesty in an attempt to gain approval. Since we were little girls, most of us have been taught that we should play nicely and do all that's required to keep the peace and create harmony.

There are many ways you might be feeding your approval habit. Check out this list and see if you can relate to any of the following behaviors:

  • You say yes when you would prefer to say no.
  • You agree with someone even when your heart isn't on the same page.
  • You offer to do favors for others to the point that you spread yourself way too thin.
  • You go along with group behavior because you don't want to rock the boat.
  • You compliment and praise behavior that you don't even approve of.

This certainly isn't an exhaustive list, but it can be an exhausting one. Let's face it -- being an "approval junkie" is depleting, no fun and just plain boring after a while. And it's fueled not only by how you're socialized but also by your insecurities. We worry that we're not good enough, worthy enough, important enough, pretty enough and just simply not enough to be liked. Well, I say that it's about time that you get past your insecurities and stop doing things that you'd rather not do!

Try the following five ways to get past insecurities in relationships with both the men and women in your life:

  1. Change the way you think. Develop a personal mantra that reminds you to take care of yourself. How about: "Do I really want to do this?" or "Will I resent doing this?" How we think absolutely affects how we behave.
  2. Take a breath before you respond to a request for a favor.
    If you really want to say no, then go ahead and do just that. I'm very sure that in most cases, you won't lose a good friend because you can't always say yes. If you do, then maybe that friend should be lost.
  3. Monitor your own behavior. Become aware of how frequently you compliment others. If you find yourself doing this constantly, then work on cutting down. Compliments are appreciated even more if they're harder to come by.
  4. Try spending some time alone so that you can replenish your energy. You may get to like yourself more. And if your self-esteem increases then guess what? Yep, you'll be less likely to seek approval.
  5. Remember that you'll be respected more if you do not come across as needy. People like others who come across as confident and sure of themselves. You give the impression that you're worthy of respect. And you ARE worthy of respect.

Strive to become comfortable in your own skin. It's a journey, but having confidence in your decisions, values and who you are as person will help you lead a more fulfilling life.

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