Confessions of a Recovering Approval Junkie

Constance Rhodes
August 05, 2009

Constance Rhodes

Recovering Approval Junkie

The following is a blog entry by author Constance Rhoads:

I know how to write a good bio. After years in the music business I can take a cool photo, say the right words and gather compelling endorsements, so that the person reviewing them will think I am worthy of their time and attention (and fee). After all, that’s how one markets oneself in this image-oriented culture we live in. Which is why I’m a little nervous breaking rank and getting so personal on this blog. And yet I must. Because what I’m learning is that my addiction to the approval of, well, everyone is not something that pays off in the long run.

I am a recovering approval junkie. That means it’s hard for me not to walk through life endeavoring to do things – everything – right. And I’ve been pretty good at it. I’ve managed my weight well (if you can overlook the decade of disordered eating), worn the right things, had the right jobs, and stacked up a fine list of accomplishments (which, of course, you can read in my bio). But all this effort at achieving perfection hasn’t been without a price. And life is too short to keep paying it.

Proverbs 29:25 tells us “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that,” (MSG). This is the basis of my speaking platform. Which is not to say that our relationships with others aren’t important. On the contrary, God fulfills some of our deepest needs through relationships with others. But we become crippled when we look to their opinion for our own measure of self-worth. Only God can give us that.

As I continue to walk the path of resisting the urge to be perfect, it’s amazing how much less fear I have to contend with; how much more sleep I get at night. The promise of freedom from approval addiction is intoxicating, and makes the tough work of pursuing it so much easier to face. This is a message I love to share with anyone who will listen.

So, in case you’re wondering, I am the “right” speaker for any organization or host who recognizes how crippling it can be to make decisions based on what other people will think of those decisions. And I particularly enjoy talking with women. Women who slave away to be the best moms, the best ministers, the best leaders, and the best volunteers. Those who tremble at the thought of disappointing their bosses, their friends, their families or even God. And of course the three out of four women (and many men) whose relationships with food are out of whack as a result of all of the above; this is a subject I’m particularly well-versed in…

Most of all, I love breathing life and hope into to those who have stifled their gifts, passions and dreams because they’re afraid of what people will think. That was me. That IS me. And yet by God’s grace it’s becoming less so.

So, here I am. A recovering approval junkie. It’s not the sexiest title, I’ll admit. But at least it’s the truth. And from what I can tell, at least I’m not alone.

Are you with me?

 

Constance Rhodes

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