Approval, necessary for the development of the Self

Approval, necessary for the development of the Self

The approval of others is of paramount importance for the development of the Self. A demonstration: when we are born, our path of acculturation begins precisely from the relational dynamics that we build with others.

Approval, necessary for the development of the Self

Last update: December 15, 2020

Approval is a determining aspect of the development of the Self, in particular for its contribution to our well-being. Living in society, other people are references (source of information) and reinforcements of our way of acting, thinking or proposing (conduct) in the face of a situation, so we seek their approval.



In the development of a person, it is the other who conditions the image she has of herself, especially during the first years of life. The child needs to be encouraged, to feel protected in the face of adversity and to receive love, affection and respect.

In this way, his psyche is formed in a healthy way in the short and long term. The exterior will be an essential element in regulating his wishes and his needs; an ecosystem to which it will have to adapt to survive in society.

As we said, the other plays an essential role in the various stages of life. At birth, parents / guardians play a key role. As we move on to the next steps, the circle of influence becomes wider, and we observe the actions of others.

We can put approval among the factors that others give or take away from us. And in many cases, it acts as a reinforcement to behavior and to the idea we have of ourselves.

The approval and benefits for healthy development

Receiving approval from others offers several benefits:


  • Promotes healthy development of self-esteem. Approval affects the image we have of ourselves, consequently on how we feel about us, or our self-esteem. A self-esteem that, as our faithful follower, will be a constant reference and will follow us everywhere.

Emotions are energy. A healthy self-esteem can condition the choice of projects and the attitude with which they are approached.


  • Strengthen social relationships. On a personal or professional level, if we receive approval, we feel stronger.
  • Improve your level of personal satisfaction. The level of personal satisfaction improves substantially when approval is received, particularly at work and with regard to our conduct.
  • Decreases destructive self-criticism. If we are demanding people and do not receive approval for our work, we can feel the weight of our critical thoughts. Approval, in this case, is essential to hinder a negative dialogue that leads to mistreating one's self.
  • Increase self-confidence. When we receive external approval, we are able to better build self-esteem and strengthen self-confidence. Security will increase our courage in the new situations we face every day.

What happens when a person doesn't get approval?

The approval of others is of great importance for the development of the Self. When we are born, the path of acculturation begins precisely from the relational dynamic that is built with the other.

In this sense, the bond that is created and maintained with those who take care of us will be essential for healthy development. Starting from the desires and needs, we begin a dynamic relationship between ourselves and the outside.


In this way, we begin to regulate and adapt to what, in 1920, Sigmund Freud called the reality principle in Beyond the pleasure principle.

Freud's principle explains how psychic processes are automatically regulated by the pleasure principle. Explain that an unpleasant tension sets in motion which ultimately results in its diminishing to avoid sorrow (meaning sorrow as a lack of approval).


"In psychoanalytic theory we unreservedly adopt the assumption that the course of psychic processes is automatically regulated by the pleasure principle."

-Sigmund Freud

To conclude

To live in society in the best way we need good impulse control. In doing so, we do not give up our desires, but postpone them or transform them to satisfy them at the most suitable time.


If we don't get the approval of others, self-esteem can be affected, generating discomfort. The influence of reinforcement through the other is particularly powerful in childhood, and can be used as a tool to educate without punishment.

In conclusion, knowing that someone else can judge our existence or our work in a negative way reinforces the more positive parts of the self. It also increases the likelihood of repeating behaviors that reinforce us.

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