Saturday, January 25, 2014

P2-SFS5 - The Approval Addict

The Search For Significance –
Seeing your true worth through God's eyes”
Robert S. McGee

Chapter 5 – The Approval Addict

  • When we base our self-worth on what we believe others think about us, we become addicted to their approval
  • It may appear as though we are self-sacrificing, always available, and selfless
  • In reality, we may resent people demanding so much from us, it leaves us so little time to spend on ourselves
  • We may find it difficult or impossible to say no, because we feel that if we say yes to all that people ask of us, we will receive their approval
  • We may spend years trying to build relationships, trying to please people and win their respect
  • And yet, if we hear one unappreciative word from somebody, it can totally ruin our sense of self-worth
  • The world is full of people who demand that we please them in exchange for their approval and acceptance
  • This can lead to a secon d false belief – I must be approved by certain othetrs to feel good about myself
  • 1. Believing this lie cause us to bow to peer pressure in an effort to gain approval
  • We may join clubs and organizations hoping to find a place of acceptance
  • We often identify ourselves with social groups, thinking that being with opthers like ourselves will assure acceptance and approval
  • Often people's experimentation with drugs and sex, is a reaction to their need to belong
  • But the drugs and promiscuity promise something they can't fulfil, and the experimentation only results in hurt and an even stonger need for acceptance
  • 2. Another symptom of our fear of rejection is our inability to receive and give love
  • We find it hard to open up our deepest thoughts, because we are afraid others will reject us if they know what we really are like
  • This leads to superficial relationships or isolation
  • Then, the more we isolatge, the more we seek acceptance
  • Loneliness is one of the most dangerous and widespread problems in the country
  • This relates to Christians as well
  • 92% of attenders at a Bible conference said loneliness was a major issue in ytheir lives. There was one basic symptom – all felt despair at feeling unloved and a fear of being unwanted or unaccepted
  • Yet Jesus says – John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”
  • The common solution offered to the problem of loneliness is to go and join a group
  • But this is not the answer. Only God can provide that security
  • Turning to others for our acceptance is another way of buying into Satan's lie: Self-worth = Performance + Others' Opinions
FEAR OF REJECTION TEST (give a score for each item in the list)
  • 1=always, 2= very often, 3=often, 4=sometimes, 5=seldom, 6=very seldom, 7=never
  • 1. I avoid certain people
  • 2. When I sense someone may reject me, I become nervous or anxious
  • 3. I am uncomfortable around those who are different than me
  • 4. It bothers me when someone is unfriendly to me
  • 5. I am basically shy and unsocial
  • 6. I am critical of others
  • 7. I find myself trying to impress others
  • 8. I become depressed when someone criticises me
  • 9. I always try to determine what people think of me
  • 10. I don't understand people and what motivates them
  • Total your scores.
  • 57-70 = you seem to have a strong appreciation of God's love and unconditional acceptance. You seem to be freed from the fear of rejection that plagues most people. (or you may not have been honest with yourself)
  • 47-56 = the fear of rejection controls your responses rarely or only in certain situations (or you may not have been honest with yourself)
  • 37-46 = when you experience emotional problems they may relate to a sense of rejection. You probably relate many previous decisions to this fear. Many future decisions will be based on this fear unless you act to overcome it
  • 27-36 = the fear of rejection forms a general backdrop to your life. This robs you of the joy and peace your salvation is meant to bring
  • 0-26 = experiences of rejection dominate your memory, and have probably resulted in a lot of depression. This will stay this way unless you take direct action, time alone cannot heal your pain. You need deep healing in your concept of self, your relationship with God, and your relationships with others
  • Virtually all of us fear rejection, even if we hardened ourselves when we expect it to happen
  • Being defensive or trying to please people, is the answer
  • they are only coping mechanisms
  • Rejecting others communicates that they are unacceptable to us, or don't measure up to our standard
  • It can be used to manipulate people
  • Usually it is apparent by an outburst of anger, a disgusted look, an impatient answer, or a social snub
  • It communicates disrespect, low value and lack of appreciation. It hurts
  • So why do we so often reject people?
  • Rejection is a powerful motivator
  • We can use rejection to send the messgae that the other person does not meet our targets. We use that person's desire to be accepted , to bend their behaviour to suit our purposes
  • Rejection and guilt are only effective when the person is around, though. For example, a child brought up this way may rebel against this when it achieves freedom
  • A damaging result of the fear of rejection is isolation
  • This can present itself in not opening up to our spouse, not developing deep relationships
  • Sometimes we withdraw and decline almost everything, sometimes we say yes yto almost everything, hoping to gain approval
  • We may be shy and easily manipulated, or we may become defensive when criticized. We may even become hostile
  • Anger, resentment, hostility
  • Being easily manipulated
  • Codependency – being a compulsive rescuer
  • Avoidance of people
  • Control
  • Depression
  • Repeating of negative messages
  • Hypersensitivity to the opinions of others
  • God has a solution – we will see that next session
Discussion Questions

  • Are you hurt by anyone's disrespect or disapproval? Who?
  • How does the fear of rejection or disapproval by these people affect your life?
  • Have people used rejection to manipulate you into doing things their way? Give examples
  • What emotion accompanied these situations?
  • If you run from rejection, are you really in control of your life?