Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

People Pleasers – May I have your approval?

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Do you ever get the feeling that all you want to do is please other people or that your main mission in life is to seek the approval of others for your own very existence? And for some reason or another, no matter how you try you are just not succeeding and nobody really notices your efforts. Do you feel like it is a waste of time, but you can’t stop?

We can be very hard on ourselves for seemingly not fitting in, for not getting things right, or not understanding what it takes to make another person feel good. It can be so hard that, at times, our first thoughts when we wake up in the morning is what can I do better for this person or that person and unfortunately, we forget that the most important approval comes from within ourselves.

If you don’t love yourself, then no matter how hard you try or how much you wish, you are never going to feel like anyone else can or does love you. It is a simple rule of life: love thyself.

If you have ADD or ADHD you can probably relate well to this; however, this is a very common dilemma for just about every type of person, in every walk of life.

ADDer children respond well to approval and perform even better when rewarded. As a matter of fact a below average graded child in school can become an above average student when properly rewarded and praised. And to save children from becoming dependent on rewards and praise the incentives must be weighed and measured with great precision to each child’s needs. However, in adulthood praise and rewards can be few and far between and that leaves ADDers searching and desiring for something they feel is ‘missing’ in their life.

What is it? What’s missing? Approval?



ADDers also have struggles and setbacks and receive a lot of negative feedback due to their innate natural traits which leaves us feeling worthless and unappreciated. And yet, ADDers rarely give up. Yes, we tend to be very hard on ourselves and mentally beat ourselves up and when we do this, we still have the overwhelming, yearning feeling of wanting to do better, to be appreciated, and to be approved of—this is the vulnerable trait which often leaves us open to be taken advantage of. We tend to think everyone and their mother can see our struggles, that each and every negative thought is a beacon of light posted right above our heads as we walk, talk and even when we sleep. This partly comes from our focus on self; let’s call it our “Center of the Universe Syndrome”.

The truth is that you are probably very much appreciated and approved of, but maybe not in the obvious ways you dream of or in the way you think approval should be shown. Some rock stars with millions of fans don’t feel like they are appreciated and we look at them in their humble interviews and think “what the heck is wrong with him or her?!?” The truth is, it’s not about other people and what they think or approve or anything—it’s about ourselves, how and what we think and approve of ourselves and being that we sometimes live in our very own world of thought, we tend to reflect what we imagine someone else is thinking and take that in as reality. That’s just not fair—not to yourself and especially not to the person you are judging, because yes, by filling in the blanks of what they think from our own thoughts, we are indeed judging others—we are doing the very thing we ask others not to do of us!

We must come to an understanding that just because someone doesn’t give the pat on the back we believe we deserve it does not mean we can automatically assume what the other thinks and feels about us. That’s just not fair. Other people have thoughts and concerns which have absolutely nothing to do with us and no, they probably have no clue, unless they are very, very close to you regularly, of what your inner struggles and setbacks are and even then, what a person thinks is not within your control. You mind reader, you! There is no beacon of light above your head pointing them out. I know that is hard to believe, but therein lies the majority of the problem. We are not the center of the universe.

Approval and self worth comes from within. The last person on earth, all alone, would really have a problem because he or she would soon realize that those feelings of worthlessness and disapproval are still there, but soon the reality would set in that they are from his or her own thoughts and beliefs because nobody would be there to cast them on and reflect them from. There is a saying, no matter where you move or where you go “You are still you wherever you are!” It’s not about them.

For us ADDers a big part of this problem comes from criticism. We grow up being criticized and, being the sensitive people that we are, we take this criticism in very deeply. We become used to it and maybe we can’t live without it. We use it as a driving force, a challenge to be better and do better, to hone our focus. However, this is not healthy.

There is nothing wrong with being a people pleaser. It is better to give than receive, so they say. But, realize why we are really doing it and what our motivation really is. Approval comes from within, love thyself first and then the real approval will exist within and will become our reflection. I know this very well and it is why I always recommend therapy to others with ADD ADHD. One of the main objectives of a therapist is to help us realize the truth of what we think and why we think it and one of the most important aspects of myself that my therapist helped me realize is that I did not approve of myself and therefore I reflected this belief on others and back to myself. Think about that, it’s deep! Way, way deep!

The next time you think a person is thinking of you in some particular way, stop and ask yourself if he or she ever said that to you? Yes, others criticize. Try and direct a movie, write a book or create anything and the critics will appear, but what do you think? Separate your thoughts from the thoughts of others and realize that your worth does not rest in the hands of other people and therefore your worth is not the result of what other people think, but rather our true worth is what we think of ourselves.

That’s what I think about this – but, what do you think?