So one of my big challenges in life has been that I'm an approval seeker, a people pleaser. It's been a part of me for a long time. Probably partly as an adult child of an alcoholic, but in school also I was the shy kid, often picked on, had a small group of friends but even felt like the odd one out of that group. I don't say this to complain, as there are many wonderful things I take from my growing up years, just wanted to explain what makes me tick. And when I find someone I respect a lot as a person I often put them on a pedestal (ie, my family physician. One reason I ultimately decided to see a psychiatrist was because I was too worried about what my family physician, also a colleague, was thinking about me). I value my psychiatrist enormously, so part of me is a bit concerned about doing the same thing, though that hasn't happened yet.
So, anyway, my point of the post is, I'm sure there are others on here like me. How have you handled it, if you have? My husband and I have found that a LOT of my anxiety issues really stem from being to worried about what other people think about me.
I do feel that it is improving recently....I'm not actively working on the issue per se, but doing a lot of values-based life planning from the ACT book I'm reading, which focuses on pursuing the life "I" find valuable and not on what others expect (though ironically is still very giving based). I've really focused on GIVING without anticipating or hoping for a particular response..,making it about the giving and not about the approval I get as a result. I think these things have actually helped. On the other hand, I've been seeing my psychiatrist biweekly to monthly, so I may be getting that emotional reassurance I think I need and perhaps that will change once I see her less frequently. Which leads to another question: how do you know when that emotional support is helpful versus reinforcing old habits?
What are your thoughts/experiences?