Connection or Approval?

One of the strongest human needs is the desire for love and appreciation.  Approval and connection are two ways that we try to fill this need.  While both may feel very similar emotionally, they are very different in method and result. 

Seeking approval often requires that we change - to do or become what we perceive that others want us to do or be.  It is very conditional and can be suffocating.

Seeking connection requires that we let our guard down, bare our souls.  It can be frightening but results in authentic relationships that are deeply fulfilling.

One is based upon pretense, the other truth.  Your choice.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living
Authenticity, Relationships, True Self.


  1. Seems like connection is the better way to go mostly. Although much tougher. You see it in movies a lot, about how the dude or chick needs to 'let down their guard' for their relationship to work, etc etc. It's probably in the movies as lot because it's harder than it looks! Makes for good stories!

  2. Approval from those whom we trust, on the other hand, can be positively formative. Great post!

  3. I think the difference is that approval requires us to become what someone else wants us to become, often at the expense of our own wishes, dreams, and desires. Connection--I simply refer to it as love, and most definitely not only in romantic contexts--is where people challenge each other to grow.

    They look the same at first, but the differences are significant. I've spent way too much time and sacrificed way too much of myself in the quest for approval.

  4. What an interesting post, Dan. I have spent too much time seeking approval. I think we all like to be approved of, so I can see why people get caught up in it. It's a way to win favor and perhaps love.

  5. it is true - it is so easy to seeks others' approval and sacrficing own needs and wishes. Unfortunately it happens too often for me.

  6. Good point. Real connection is not based on the ego's need for approval or its fear of rejection. Thanks for highlighting the distinction.