We sometimes revert back to being a child in the presence of close family members. We may still crave the approval that we feel we never received. The trouble with seeking approval is threefold:
1) The more we yearn for that outside approval, the less likely we are to receive it. Often people who are reticent to give approval are unconsciously negatively triggered by those who yearn for it.
2) Often the approval we seek is sought from those who are incapable of giving it.
3) By the time we are adults, the disapproval we sense is internalized disapproval. Therefore, we have to generate the approval we seek internally as well.
Even if your father finally sees the light and says, “You are amazing! I’m so proud of you,” you will probably not feel that magical feeling of self-worth you’ve desired for so long. By the time you’re an adult, the feeling of inadequacy stems from your internalized father — that internal negative voice that has been with you so long.
Now it is up to you to transform the internal voice in your head. This may be as difficult as transforming your real father, except that you actually have more control over your own thinking.
Creating that sought-after approval or harmony is done by developing new habits and thinking. You have to catch yourself every time you have a negative thought and replace it with a positive one. For instance, when you hear an inner voice saying, “you’ll probably botch your interview,” replace it with, “I will prepare for this interview as best I can and it should go fine.”
by Alison Poulsen, PhD