Gone way overboard because…

This week's question from my portal “The Neagle Code: Directions
for Life”
comes from Rebecca.

Neagle                                               Code Question

Through my work I am always looking for validation from others to make me feel like I'm doing a good job. It matters so much that I go overboard with giving to be liked. Being so nice doesn't seem to get me ahead at all.

Thank you David if you choose this question I will act upon your advice immediately.


Neagle                                               Code Answer

Great question.

The need for validation from other people is an issue that comes from low self-esteem. This need comes from the perception that you aren't worthy of appreciation and it actually started prior to age 7 or 8.

Congratulations on taking the first step to overcoming the need for validation by recognizing that you have the problem. It can be very difficult to overcome unless you really want to overcome it.

If we don't truly believe that we are worthy of appreciation on the inside, we're always going to be seeking validation from others that we are okay.

The problem is that no matter how much others tell us that we did a good job, deep down we don't believe it.

So say you completed a project and someone tells you that you did a good job. It feels great but the feeling dissipates quickly. That's because a person who needs to be appreciated will always be on the lookout for when they are not being appreciated. They are always concerned about what others think about them.

When a person doesn't get the appreciation they are looking for it can be extremely painful or even devastating. This causes them to feel resentful and that leads to anger.

A person who is really trying to overcome this in their life has to be aware of the cycle and all the places in their life where this shows up. They have to know how the cycle works.

It always leads to self-sabotage. People with the need to be appreciated will start sabotaging different areas of their life because they don't feel appreciated.

I'm going to share an integration exercise with you that will help you overcome the need for appreciation if you really want to overcome it.

    A) For every person who comes into your life, find one thing you can honestly appreciate about them in that moment.

    B) Start journaling what you're finding to appreciate in other people, and begin to see these qualities in yourself.

    C) Start to take a look at how wonderful you really are as a human being and an individual.

Don't underestimate how much the need to be appreciated actually holds you back in your life.

I wish you all the best!

Just Believe,®
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  1. Great article and great direction – I am only starting to see how this affects me and when. I thought I was a pretty strong person, but in looking at where I STOP – another exercise from David – I am realizing that I am still looking for validation whenever I get close to stopping. Thank you for that insight.

  2. David, I have been a business man on my own since 1968. I am a contractor and roofer. I have roofed in 31 states for big corporations. Now we come to the point I need to make. In 2007 the roofing management corp. I was working through lost their accounts. I believe i was one of the most efficient business men at what i did. i was a workacholic and loved it. I loved solving problems. but I was exhausted, so I thought a rest would be nice. But what happened was I got stuck doing nothing. I have no bad habits. I just need to get going again. I’ve read probably 40+ books on positive attitude, quantum science, etc. I have such respect for books but my life still seems stuck. Oh, as can happen also in last 7 years or so I’ve made major investment mistakes, also trusting wrong people. I want to get the person back I used to be(even better). I just seem to be stuck in time. Got any ideas? Thanks, Phillp

  3. As a reformed over-giver consider the habit of over-giving is a coping mechanism we use as children to avoid rejection by adults and other children because it keeps us safe. The down side is that over giving doesn’t let other people see us for who we are, the attention all goes onto them and fulfilling their needs and desires. The over giver then feels invisible and unimportant triggering the low self esteem mindset. The habit can be reformed to create balanced relationships of give and take if one recognizes it’s is just a habit and then do the personal growth work to come to believe we are safe, worthy, matter and are enough by just being who we authentically are so we stop looking for outside approval and feel it from ourselves. One can be nice and still get ahead once our motives shift.

  4. I had to deal with this issue myself. I came to realise that approval from others can be very forthcoming so long as you’re reinforcing their own values, beliefs, and choices in some way.

    This is fine if you aim to conform with the people granting the approval (and this is how “groupthink” works) but not so great if you want to carve your own path, and the moment you begin challenging that person or group’s comfort zone, then you may find withdrawal of approval is the first reaction, because you’re making a different choice which some people find threatens to invalidate their own choices.

    So now I’m alert and wary wherever approval is on offer – for example, if I want to learn a new skill, I’ll accept approval of my efforts because I want the outcome (i.e., that skill) that the person granting it has, and that’s fine.

    But when it’s to do with life, career, potential, then I’ll be aware that to seek approval and to be guided by it will most likely only get me an approximation of what it got that person, because the choices they made have been the roadmap that got them to where they are, and if I want a different destination, there will at some point have to be a parting of the ways.

    Finally, I think Rudyard Kipling touches on this issue in his poem “If,” which I find always puts the heart back in me after making a tough choice, and I’m mentioning it because it might speak to you in the same way – certainly, if you reverse the advice in that poem to its opposite, you’ll see the character portrait of a weak, malleable and confused soul.

  5. When it comes to the sexes, isn’t a need for appreciation inbred in both? Therefore, can you really overcome it?

  6. David, simplistic yet so powerful. Appreciation of self and others is absolutely the best way to move from looking outside of yourself and realizing the love and appreciation was within all the time. I appreciate you Rebecca for asking this question, because sometimes even I forget that happiness is an inside job. Thank you for having the courage to share what was true for you. And I appreciate you David for having a question and answer section to help others.

  7. This question and answer really hit home for me. Thanks to both of you.

    I just finished reading reviews about a book called “Wake up and Live” by Dorothea Brande that addresses self-esteem issues. The reviewers couldn’t say enough about how good it is.