Today we ask that you stop seeking approval from crazy people.
A crazy person is someone who believes a lot of crazy things. He may be angry and paranoid. He may be abusive. He may be extremely fearful and judgmental. He may be a racist, bigot, or religious fundamentalist. He may have a violent temper, or be passive aggressive. He may be addicted to substances, or self-destructive behaviors.
There are a lot of crazy people in your world.
There are a lot of crazy parents, teachers, pundits, politicians, clerics, bosses, CEO’s — in short, there are a lot of crazy people in positions of authority.
As children, humans instinctively crave approval from parental figures. They need parental approval in order to survive.
Children do not understand when they have crazy parents. How can they know this? Later, when they grow up and see other models of behavior, they may realize this.
Even so, they will not be able to “turn off” their approval-seeking instinct. It does not matter if they are consciously aware that they have a crazy parent. Still, a part of them will crave that parent’s approval — possibly for the rest of their lives, and even after the crazy parent has died.
Children who grew up with a crazy parent are also likely to seek approval from other crazy authority figures — crazy bosses, romantic interests, spiritual gurus, and so on. Crazy behavior will actually trigger approval-seeking in someone who grew up with a crazy parent. It is as if you identify crazy energy as “mother” or “father,” and are drawn to it like a moth to a flame.
To stop this pattern requires getting very clear and conscious about what you are doing.
Notice when you are in “approval-seeking” mode. It may creep up on you unawares. It happens when you feel a very strong craving for someone’s approval — almost as if your life depends on it. The mere thought of this person being displeased with you or rejecting you fills you with fear, or shame, or self-loathing.
If you catch yourself approval-seeking, it is time to take a long, hard, clear-eyed look at the person you seek approval from.
Is this person really worth it? Why are you giving so much of your power to this person? Is your well-being truly so totally dependent on this person being pleased with you?
Most importantly, is this person crazy? If you had a crazy parent, particularly notice if his or her behavior in any way reminds you of that parent.
Obviously, if you work for a crazy boss, and wish to remain employed, this requires withstanding a certain amount of abuse. But you must never internalize or believe what a crazy person tells you about yourself, or the world.
That is why it is extremely important to determine if any authority figure is a crazy person, or is acting crazily.
And let it be clear: abusive behavior of any kind is crazy. It doesn’t matter if this person has risen to authority by acting abusively. Abusive behavior is crazy.
It is possible to treat a crazy person with compassion, perceiving their humanity under their confused thinking and aggression. But you must never believe a crazy person’s stories about you, or reality.
This is what it means to have a secure, strong sense of self. It means not believing crazy people, when they tell you that you are worthless.
And know this: anyone who ever says that you are worthless, or treats you abusively, is crazy — at least in that moment.
You do not need a crazy person’s approval.
More importantly, you shall never have it. A crazy person’s approval is always momentary, and fleeting. Crazy people are very fickle.
Ultimately , you must know that your well-being does not depend on the approval of others. Your inner well-being, what you think about yourself, how you feel about yourself — that is an internal state, and you can change it, without changing your external reality.
If you can see crazy people with clear eyes, you will have much more peace in your life. You will not believe their crazy stories, nor seek their approval.
When you are in that place, you may actually be able to help them.