#240: Breaking Free From The Addiction Of Approval


Hi. My name is Brian Holmes, and I am a recovering people pleaser. Before you get your feathers ruffled, I’m willing to bet you’re one, too!

Why do so many of us struggle with pleasing others and gaining their approval? What motivates us to say yes when we know we shouldn’t? Is it possible to break free from people-pleasing and performance-based approval?

In this episode, we’ll revisit an issue that seemed to resonate with so many of you and answer these questions and more as we talk about  Breaking Free From The Addiction of Approval.

You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
~ John Lydgate

What is the ROOT of our approval addiction?

Most often, this tendency can be tracked back to a relationship or an event where one’s value was inherently linked to their performance.

What is the RESULT of our approval addiction?

  • We say yes when we know we should say no.
  • We accept jobs that do not bring us satisfaction or benefit us financially.
  • We make promises we can’t keep.
  • We create an unsustainable life!

Reflection Questions:

1. Do you have a hard time saying “no”?

2. Do you find yourself striving to meet what you perceive to be other people’s expectations?

3. Do you lose self-esteem when people criticize or question you?

4. Do you often find yourself trying to help people understand why you are doing what you are doing?

5. Do you feel as though you never measure up?

6. Are you consumed with seeking approval or recognition?

7. Are you a people pleaser?

7 Truths You Must Embrace:

1. You are loved, accepted, and approved of by God.

2. You have tremendous value.

3. Your value is not based on what you do, but who you are.

4. The people in your life will always have their expectations of you, but only you can determine what you expect from yourself.

5. People pleasing is a plague. It will only bring you misery, frustration, and less than success.

6. You cannot expect people to understand where you are or where you are going. They simply cannot.

7. “If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.” ~ LeCrae

Tips For Breaking Free:

  • Unplug for a moment.
  • Decompress and take the pressure off yourself.
  • Evaluate by listing your gifts, talents, abilities, and qualities.
  • Get Clarity. Who am I, and why am I here?
  • Identify the areas you feel you need to please others.
  • Ask. Why? What is the root of this need in me?
  • Decide. I will resolve this root issue and I will no longer be driven by fear.
  • Create boundaries. Make decisions ahead of time.
  • Be Accountable.
  • Practice “no”.

Closing Thoughts:

  • We teach people how to treat us.
  • Most people love you as long as you fit in the box they’ve created for you.
  • Don’t be afraid to disappoint. Do what is right and let the chips fall where they may.

Next Steps:

1. Subscribe to our weekly email update on brianholmes.com
Continue this conversation on Facebook! Are you a recovering people pleaser?


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Until next time, remember … You were made in His image, designed for a purpose, and are destined for greatness. The world is waiting for the REAL YOU to show up.  God Bless!

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One thought on “#240: Breaking Free From The Addiction Of Approval

  1. This was very good. I find that people who seek approval tend to do as I used to do…give people their trust too easily and before they have earned it. This is especially true in church environments where those in leadership often enjoy automatic trust making it easier for them to cross the boundaries that are not there. Thank you for the fitting LeCrae quote.

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