Category Archives: People Pleasing

The joys of approval seeking.

The following post was  written by Bob P.

“I have observed that many depressives, including me, are given to approval seeking, some more than others. It seems fair to call it a kind of emotional dependency. Little children are completely dependent on their parents or whoever is taking care of them. They have no choice and are helpless. They  better have their parents approval or else.

Some of the children carry this kind of dependency right on into  adulthood, even to their graves unless they do the hard work of unlearning it. They have become so unsure of themselves, their opinions, and thoughts and skills, that they feel an imperative urge to get someone’s approval   that they are doing the right thing and that they are still ok.

When we, the former children, reach physical maturity, we find that people soon resent those who become dependent on them. They often become contemptuous of them -leaners, clinging vines, etc.  We literally drive them away from us with our constant demand for reassurance, hanging onto them, and begging them to throw us a few crumbs of approval now and then. We become fearful of asserting ourselves at all for fear of retaliating  such as outright ridicule, not being given a seat around the campfire, the doghouse, prolonged silent treatment, or stopping cooking, etc.  How can we avoid this treatment? Please them  more, of course?  Hardly. That brings only more contempt.

What will become of us?  We will spend our lives doing what others want us to do. Not what we want to do. If it gets bad enough, we will have feelings of total worthlessness and  self-loathing. Some will reach the point where they would rather die than to continue lving with that yoke around their neck.

You can free yourself from this fetter, but it’s really tough depending how badly you are addicted. It will take determination and sustained effort. It’s worth it to finally breath the air of freedom. And, you gave it to yourself. Start with a proven self help progam like Depressed Anonymous.

I include some words by Lao Tzu, 500 BC, who wrote the Tao Te Ching.

“Care about people’s approval

and you will be their slave.

Must you value what others value

and avoid what they avoid?

How ridiculous!

When you are content to be simply yourself

and don’t compare or compete

everybody will respect you.”


Bob P., Evansville, Indiana,  is  a  founding  member of  Depressed Anonymous and  one whose  friendship and thinking  I  cherish.  (Hugh S).

This article first appeared in the Spring 1995 issue of The Antidepressant Tablet, (Vol 6. No. 3)

Always trying to “please others” diminished me!

“I’d rather be imperfect and happy than always trying to be perfect.”  The THIRTEENTH WAY to leave the prison of depression.

The following two  excerpts quoted below  are from   Believing is seeing:15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2015). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.


”  One of the areas in my life where I strive to excel is in the area of trying to be perfect.  Somewhere in our early development as children we got the message that if we were perfect we could be more acceptable to others. I gradually began to believe the more I  tried to please other’s that this would bring me happiness. Instead all it brought me was a loss of myself.  The loss of self reduced me to a shallow self without direction  or meaning.” Page 63.

”   Eventually, my depression became a sort of a comfort as it kept me from having to risk an unpredictable life. In other words, this way of living took away all hope. This is what keeps many of us depressed. We hold onto the mistaken belief that since bad things happened to us in the past, bad things will continue to happen to us in  the future.” Page 64.


SOURCE: Copyright (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE for more information on other publications offered to the depressed by Depressed Anonymous Publications.

It’s the miracle of the group where I can start loving myself!

I have hope that I can accept myself today and just let fly all the old messages from the old tapes of childhood.

“You desperately wanted people to love you, but you became wary of giving your love to others.  You reasoned that the less you loved another person the less it would hurt when the inevitable rejection came.” Dorothy Rowe


I have been holed up for so long in my own little world of feeling hurt and rejection that to attempt to love someone else like the greatest challenge of my life.  I desire so badly to be loved by someone else that this lack of another’s love makes my isolation from others so hurtful.

After having witnessed the miracle of the group in DA, where depressed persons come together with their feelings of being hurt and rejected, I find that other’s love and nurture challenge me to hope once again,. I can share with the group the fact that I haven’t measured up, that I am angry and that I just want to lay down and die.

I am open enough now to let the light of love from others , who like myself, realize that I am not alone and that  I am beginning to feel better already now that I no longer need to be perfect.

This means to be willing to affiliate and give of myself for someone else’s good. In the program I am starting to love-myself.


We are going to make a mental decision right now to let God, as we understand God, guide us and instruct us on how best to love ourselves .”


Source: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. March 3rd. Page 47.