Overcoming an Approval Seeking Personality and Low Self Esteem

Struggling with low self esteem or an approval seeking personality? You are not alone. It’s common to want to feel validated at times. But if seeking approval is when your self esteem and overall well-being are riding on the opinions of others, it’s time to learn how to let go of this temporary high. To put a stop to seeking validation from the outside, you need to work on self-acceptance and respect from…wait for it…yes, the inside.

What is an Approval Seeking Personality?

Many of us struggle with insecure feelings. The desire to belong, respected, acknowledged or praised of a job well-done, or simply wanting to be understood is very common. While seeking approval is a part of human nature, it can also go unrealized and become a serious obstacle to being your authentic self. So it’s important to do a self-awareness check and identify if this belief system, seeking validation mindset and low self-esteem, interferes with your self worth, productivity and happiness.

Once you do recognize that your self esteem and self worth are dependent on how you believe others see you, it’s time to zero in on why you feel this way and learn how to let go of this insecure mindset. 

Low self esteem and insecurity can hold anyone back from living an authentic life. Those feelings quickly manifest to behaviors of constantly seeking approval. What’s also important to know is that the need for validation does not discriminate.

  • For teens, seeking approval may come in the form of wearing the “right” clothes
  • As for men, approval seeking may translate to making “enough” money
  • For the wealthy, the seeking approval psychology may be in the way one “displays” his wealth and thus her happiness
  • Finally, as for the not excessively wealthy (your average Joe/Jane), it may be the “keeping up with the Jones'” belief system. You know, so as to belong, be desirable and/or to be “perceived” as wealthy

So to help dig a little deeper, here are 3 key ideas to reflect on when talking about low self-image and its dependency on others’ validation:

  • Think about the kind of approval you seek (ie. appearance, wealth, success, love, worthiness).
  • Know that overcoming the need for approval is not about changing others in your life (however a toxic environment may be a component). Your self worth journey begins and ends with you.
  • Dig deep and determine the type of approval seeking personality you identify with most. What is holding you back from authenticity?

I found an article on livebrazen.com that describes 7 approval seeking personality types. Take a look at the descriptions below to help you identify or become more aware of what motivates your need for external validation. 

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Identifying Your Approval Seeking Personality Type

These are 7 Types of Approval Seeking Personalities which we will describe in detail:

  1. Hero Worshiper
  2. Helper
  3. Perfectionist
  4. Chameleon
  5. Performer
  6. Hater
  7. Scaredy Cat

Keep in mind that these approval seeking personality types aren’t meant to be mutually exclusive categories. You may find some overlap or that there are circumstances when you identify with some more than others. Overall this is just meant to be a useful way to kickstart overcoming your need for validation or tendency to be dependent on others’ approval to validate your self worth.

On a side note, another super important thing to recognize is when passive aggressive or simply aggressive behavior, whether yours or someone in your life, becomes toxic! We dive deep in to this critical topic in another article: How to Change Toxic Behavior.

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  1. Hello, I just want to say thanks for the blog post. I’m not really one to leave a comment that frequently but continue the wonderful work and thanks a lot for the good quality article. Having a personality that is always seeking approval is totally connected to low self esteem. Helpful ways to start getting over myself and start being myself!

  2. Great piece to help with the tendency to always seek validation from others. It’s an internal struggle I’ve had since I was a teenager, always thinking that if someone compliments me then I will be more confident and that “I matter”. Thanks for this motivational post – it really breaks down the approval seeking personality to help understand it more.

  3. Thank you for sharing a very interesting and educational blog! I personally do not suffer (or at least I don’t think so!) with approval seeking personally but as a psychology student I find it very interesting to see how some people can think.

    • Many thanks Jade! It’s certainly helpful to have insight in to our own well-being, but like you said, it’s also interesting to be able to learn and recognize patterns in others as well.

      Having this frame of reference is an important component to maintaining healthy relationships. I wish you all the best as you pursue your degree.

  4. This is wonderful! I never realized that you could overcome an approval seeking personality. I will definitely be putting your tips into use. I know that people feel silly doing the positive affirmations and positive self talk but it really does put you in a different mind set!

    • Hi Crystal,
      Thanks for your note!! It takes time but is very freeing and liberating to rid yourself from the burden of needing approval all the time. I’m so glad you found the article relatable and helpful! xo

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