Oprah is helping the distraught 50 year old Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York (known as Fergie), get out of a very tough and embarrassing situation. Oprah has even featured Fergie in her own show called Finding Sarah Ferguson.

You may or may not know that Fergie, after building a lucrative business selling her children's books, ended up in big trouble when she agreed to take 500,000 pounds or close to three quarters of a million dollars for arranging access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, The Duke of York. The whole thing was a media set-up.

Yes, I watched an episode of Finding Sarah Ferguson where she came to the realization that she was "addicted to acceptance and approval." I relate. At one time I would give gifts to those I knew or imagined didn't like me. I still struggle as many do to say “yes" when the answer is best "no."

In assertiveness training the term Approval Seeking means to act passively and allow others' rights to supersede yours. If like Fergie, we agreed to do something that is immoral, not in our best interest, against the law or simply against our values, we can become depressed, angry, resentful and possibly riddled with guilt.

What is this compulsion to seek approval? Approval is needed by children to help them stay safe and develop self-discipline. But as children mature, wise parents gradually hand over responsibility to their off-spring allowing them to make their own decisions: giving them the power to decide when to say "yes" and "no" and to what.

The mature adult can handle others not liking or even objecting to their decisions while staying open to constructive feedback. We're not talking about becoming arrogant know-it-alls but about knowing what is necessary to maintain our own well-being.

How can you tell if you are addicted to approval? Consider this:
• Do you say "yes" when you want to say "no?"
• When asked what you want to do, is your automatic response, "What-ever you want?"
• Do you give up your point of view as soon as someone else says, "I disagree?"
• Do you invite people you actually don't like to your home or gatherings ?
• Do you fib when someone asks your opinion of their clothing, furniture or idea in the hopes they won't be offended or reject you?

Now the hard part is to develop some self confidence and stay True to You. Experiment with:
1. Tell your truth. Start with "I feel (or think, believe, want, don't want) . . . "
2. If saying "no" is difficult say "I want to think it over" or "Saying 'yes" is not good for me."
3. Say, "Interesting point. I have a different idea or perspective."

Perhaps you have developed other strategies for dealing with the tendency to give up on yourself for the sake of receiving acceptance and approval. What are they? Please share your successes of Being True to You.

Author's Bio: 

Patricia Morgan is an author, speaker and workshop leader at Woe to Wow—Solutions for Resilience.

Contact her to help your people become stress hardy at 403-242-7796, patricia@SolutionsForResilience.com or www.SolutionsForResilience.com