From Israel: Recently I noticed how many of the things I do are done to get appreciation from people around me. I daydream about putting a good status on Whatsapp so that some specific girls will see it and think “He is funny” (I avoid acting on this). I dream of saying smart or funny or sharp things just on the right time. I keep helping people on a big Facebook group of help, and wait for the people to thank me, or just know that others that see it know how smart I am and how funny and helpful. When I talk to people and they laugh, this is what makes me happy. It’s like all the things I do are done to be appreciated. It’s an addiction. Some of my life decisions were based on the will to be seen by people in a good way. My happiness depends on the approval of others!!! Even writing this question is for you to think how smart I am, and think of my poor situation. Can you give me self help ideas and book names to get out of this, and start discovering and doing what I WANT to do? Thank you very much.
People are social animals. Wanting to be seen as interesting by others isn’t in itself a bad thing. It’s a matter of degree.
You describe it as an “addiction”. That suggests to me that you think your happiness depends solely on what others think; that you aren’t able to do things to please only yourself as well. The question, then, is how to bring things back into balance.
Genuine self esteem requires not only feeling good about yourself but doing worthwhile things that show you deserve those good feelings. In your case, it means doing worthwhile things that only you know about. Identify some need in your community that you can fill consistently and privately. Get involved. Do what you can. Then let yourself feel good about it. Really take it in that you are a decent person doing a good thing.
Then ask yourself if it is enough to appreciate yourself. If not, why not? I suspect the answer to that question will get to the root of your issue. Once you know what causes your “addiction”, you may be able to get “sober”. If not, then I suggest you consider some individual therapy to help you live a life that is less dependent on others’ approval.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
I Keep Doing Things to Be Appreciated
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I Keep Doing Things to Be Appreciated. Psych Central.
Retrieved on July 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/08/07/i-keep-doing-things-to-be-appreciated/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.