Looking for Approval
Everyone needs encouragement and affirmation. Many people with co-occurring disorders desperately need encouragement on their recovery journey. For the downcast and dejected person, hearing something positive can be like a cup of cool water in a hot, parched desert. All too often, people are thirsty for affirmation, but look for it from sources that are parched and unavailable. The secret to successfully receiving support is to let go of the dry sources and explore abundant and fulfilling ones.
I often run across people in mental health and substance use disorder treatment that have some support from group members and from our staff. Sadly, they don’t seem impressed. Instead, they are bent on getting approval and attention from a single person-often one who will not give it. The person in need becomes increasingly more frustrated and desperate, but rather than give up on getting approval they often increase their efforts to get it.
Getting What You Need
Getting some of the approval you need requires looking for it from available sources. Take a fierce inventory determining who believes in you and in your recovery goals. Learn to nurture yourself, affirming, and approving of your own ideas rather than letting others determine your value and worth. As you get stronger in your recovery, you’ll find yourself being less frantic to receive the constant affection, attention, and approval of others. Give up on getting what you need from stingy people who withhold support to keep you trying harder. Avoid desperation strategies such as whining, complaining, fault finding, begging, blaming, and accusing. Rather than effectively pointing out your need, these tactics often do the opposite causing more distance and disapproval. Instead, find people who are givers. Then, be the kind of person who is easy to affirm and encourage and always be willing to give what you want to receive. Be understanding, and patient, continuously displaying warmth and gratitude.
Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!