Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Need for Approval, the Root of all Evil?

Human life can be seen as a constant struggle for approval. Even where we disapprove, it is to earn someone's approval. Why? What is its origin? What is the gain? 
Children are taught from a young age to seek approval from their parents or other elders for the things they say or do. Since the need for approval, love and acceptance from our parents is strong, we become conditioned over time. And we learn to seek the approval of someone, unless there are reasons to be otherwise. Whenever we don’t receive approval, whether of our parents, or from someone who is held in awe, we feel a substantial loss. We assume a loss of trust. And there is a strong desire to win it back, which triggers a host of behavioral quirks.

The need for validation fits into this category. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, the desire for validation is one of the strongest motivating forces known to man.
Whose validation do we want?

Well, it all depends on whose opinion we value most. A child wants to feel the approval of their parents, while a teenager generally seeks the validation of their peers. Wives want the approval of their husbands, and vice versa. But it doesn’t stop there!

Employees want to hear the phrase “well done” from their employer, just as authors want to see their readers pleased. The fact is, we all have a longing for validation, and, the feeling of being approved, helps fill that desire.
Why does it matter so much?

Let us see why approval is so important? I think it is pretty basic. Approval feeds our strongest desire. If the strongest of all emotional needs is directly linked to our feelings of approval or disapproval, what is that need?

I agree, in many cases, it is easy to compare the need for approval and the need for love, as in both the cases, the corrective mechanism acts in a similar manner. The need for love is well understood as one of the primary needs of all forms of life. Especially for humans, the first thing people usually think of for effecting any changes, is the need for love. I think, as powerful as love is, in reality it can be seen to be the same as validation, a feeling that one can expect support and blessings for whatever one is planning to do. In which case, love is just the ultimate expression of approval. So love feeds the same core emotional need as approval does. And in a similar way one can say, any behaviour which is contrary to one's identity and purpose, or what conflicts with the core beliefs, is generally done to gain the approval of someone else. In short we can say, approval gives us the sense of additional validation necessary for a thinking being.

Why do we have this strong desire for approval, in the first place?

I think the idea of approval originated like this. In the early days of mankind, when, a lingering state of dissatisfaction, as explained in my book 'The Unsure Male', would have been very common in animal kingdom. The 'post mating agony', the cause for this, would have more acute, and rather enigmatic in the case of humans, as, unlike all other forms of life, the female does not take a violent avenue to release her dissatisfaction. Also, if such situation occur, the male does not accept it as part of life, as other beings do. Rather than accepting it as innate inadequacy, the male would have been on the lookout for a good excuse. And humans being an altruistic animal, such instances of displeasure would have been appearing in a wide variety of expressions, the true cause being lost to the species in a few generations.  As a result, over many generations, humans would have become a race with a lingering feeling of dissatisfaction with all the activities related to mating. The actual reason for this having lost in the time that passed, this dissatisfaction would have been reappearing in the form of a great number of obscure, anti-female traditions, most of which end up putting restrictions to the activities of mating.
Over many generations, humans, especially the male, would have stopped taking part in any activity whatsoever, unless prodded. Thus would have necessitated, the need for approval at every new step. The philosophic discourses that make it great to be doing things with no worry about the result, as one can see, fits here most appropriately as an umbrella of approval for whatever one wishes to do.


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