Love is not Approval


Your deepest need is to feel loved, no matter what. No conditions. Yet, too often you hear an inside voice that says, “In order to be loved, I must do things right!” You acquired this voice from the many negative messages you heard in childhood about what you did wrong. You came to conclude that you were not good enough or worthy to be loved unless you did things “right.” Thus, “love” got confused with… approval!

If you feel like you need outside authorization to feel important or valuable, it is not love you are seeking, but approval. You may seek this approval, but even if you get it, you are never satisfied because, deep down, you desire to be okay without it.

When love becomes approval, you try desperately to do everything “right.” Since you cannot possibly meet “right” in everyone’s definition, you feel stressed, angry and anxious and can grow insecure, defensive and controlling. Humanity is plagued by the belief that we need to be a certain way or do something “right” in order to be okay and worthwhile. Feelings of inadequacy take refuge deep within all of us, causing most of our stress and struggle.

The following are examples of beliefs that keep you dependent on approval. They are based in fear and live deep in your ego mind:

  • If I don’t do it right, I am not okay.
  • If I do not please others, they will not be okay.
  • If others don’t like or approve of me, I must be doing something wrong.

If you turn to your heart and ask for Love’s opinion on the above, you might hear something different. Love is a divine voice that is on your side and wants you to be at peace and in joy.

Love would say:

  • If I don’t do it right, I am totally okay and remember that “right” is in the eye of the beholder.
  • If I do not please others, I trust they will be okay.
  • If others don’t approve of me, I know it’s not about me, but their own needs and desires.

Next time you yearn for a sense of importance based on how you look or what you accomplish, go inside and feel Love instead. Tune into what would make you feel good. Let the Love inside you dissolve the need for any approval so you can follow your heart. Remember, there is no right way!

Let’s say you seek your mother’s sanction before taking significant action in your life. You may actually ask her in person or be unconsciously influenced by what she thinks is right for you. You are tied to what she thinks is best and never seek what you truly want for yourself. Maybe she wants you to be a mother and you want to pursue only a career. If you are dependent on her approval, you might become a mother against your heart’s desire. Is this Love, or the small part of you (ego) that still believes the only way to be “okay” is to do it the “right way?” (And your mother’s small self that needs you to agree with her so she will be affirmed as “okay.”)

When you listen to and feel the presence of Love, you reclaim your inner power and follow what makes your heart sing. You begin to love yourself and choose your own path while respecting your loved one’s best intentions for you. You finally realize that deep down, in their hearts, people love you just because you’re you! (Not because you are doing things a certain way.)

Remember, your deepest desire is to be loved “as is.” Not to be judged, but acknowledged. Not to be wronged, but feel understood and accepted, no matter what. Only Love has the power to accept you exactly as you are in any moment and acknowledge your behavior without judgment. How you behave is how you behave. What you choose is what you choose. There is no right way. There is only Love.

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Lisa Venable
Lisa Venable, M.A. is an author, inspirational speaker and spiritual psychotherapist. Lisa's mission is to help people live from their heart instead of their limiting ego and create a world where Love prevails. Lisa provides stress management training for nurses, social workers and adults with aging parents. Lisa also facilitates a volunteer program, "Love Angels" that provides comfort care to nursing home residents. Visit


  1. I enjoyed the perspective shifts you demonstrated in
    “What Love would say”

    I believe – that a person who is caught in an illusion that they are not already “LOVE” – they are looking for just looking for LOVE – outside of themselves – (validation etc)searching for the connection that is possible when the illusion of seperateness falls away when they gain the awareness they are both whole and part of the whole.

  2. Dear Lisa,

    This article is almost six years old, but it’s reached me today. I’ve pondered only today about why I’m so desperately trying to be perfect. I’ve known for a while that it had to do with my upbringing, but I couldn’t see exactly how. My mom has always been very peculiar about my grades or my success in life. Any of my feelings of inadequacy or ill-being were brushed away as silly or irrelevant. My life is a trainwreck, I’ve been single for the past six or seven years and I’ve been taking antidepressants for a while now.
    The answer was quite simple, in fact : I’ve always mistaken approval for love, and vice-versa. And I’ve needed love, quite desperately.

    I’m quite familiar with having internal dialogues. Thanks for the idea of talking with “Love”, I’ve briefly done so and I find her quite lovely. That’s a great finding. It could be a key for future progress and well-being.

    I cannot empasize how much this article has rung a bell within me. Thank you.


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