How to Deal With Wanting Approval

A New Perspective on Rejection

It’s one thing to say we don’t want approval to control our lives, and it’s another thing entirely to put it into action. There are ways to balance wanting approval with loving others. In this post, produced in cooperation with the Association of Biblical Counselors, counselor Dr. Ed Welch walks through four principles to help us handle a need for approval from others. 

Ed is a counselor and faculty member at Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation and the author of several books including, When People Are Big and God is Small.  

Ed listed four ways we can begin to work through wanting approval from others:

  • See rejection as an opportunity to grow.
  • Speak to God about your hurt.
  • Regain perspective and love others.
  • Confess sins and weaknesses regularly.

Which of Ed’s four suggestions resonated with you the most? Why? Which ones, if any, do you already put into practice? Which ones could you consider starting?
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How do you view rejection? Do you see it as an opportunity to grow? Why or why not? In what ways could you begin to take steps toward shaping how you view rejection?
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Have you ever talked to God when someone hurt you? If so, how did talking to Him comfort you? If not, would you consider talking to Him in the future? Why or why not?
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Ed talked about how we can regain perspective by reminding ourselves of the importance of loving others. He said it gives us a way forward, instead of keeping us stuck in the rut of rejection.  

When you love others, how have you seen your perspective change on approval and rejection? What encourages you the most when you love others?
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In what ways have you confessed sins or come face to face with your weaknesses? How might being truthful with yourself about your weakness help you cope with rejection?
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How could you put one or more of these practices into action this week? What are specific things you could do to show love to your spouse, family, friends, or coworkers?
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Wanting approval isn’t a bad thing, but when we value what others think of us central to our lives, it impacts our joy, actions, and self worth. Take Ed’s advice to heart this week. Consider rejection as a chance to grow and learn. Talk to God about your struggles and hurts. Come up with ways to extend love to the people in your life—write your friend an encouraging note, do your spouse’s laundry, or help a coworker on a project.

You can find more on approval from Ed in the course Do They Like Me? 

To learn more about The Association of Biblical Counselors, click here