by Brittany Maher & Cassandra Speer
Have you ever found yourself mindlessly scrolling through your social media feed, your heart sinking a little with each swipe as you tally up the likes and comments on your latest post? Or perhaps you've met someone who seems to have it all—charm, charisma, and the adoration of everyone around them—yet you sense an underlying current of insecurity?
If you've nodded your head to either of these scenarios, you're not alone. Today, we're diving into a topic that's not only deeply personal but also increasingly relevant: affirmation addiction.
Affirmation addiction is the excessive reliance on external validation to approve one’s worth.
We all want to be recognized, appreciated, and validated – affirmation is a natural desire. It's a fundamental part of the relational way God created us. It's the pat on the back for a job well done, the encouraging words from a friend, or the supportive nod from a colleague that makes us feel seen, heard, and valued.
However, when does this desire for affirmation become unhealthy or even addictive? The answer lies in our motivation behind seeking affirmation and the lengths we're willing to go to acquire it. When we base our value on the shifting approval of others instead of the steadfast love of God, we risk becoming dedicated to the pursuit of it.
There’s a sneaky spiritual trap involved. The devil wants us to be like him. He was once a beautiful angel, full of wisdom, light, and beauty. But then he began seeking worship for himself. Likewise, he wants us to desire being the focus of others’ adoration, becoming increasingly desperate for it until our appetite for affirmation becomes insatiable. We find ourselves addicted to praise and hooked on hype.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 139:14 that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." Our worth is not determined by the number of likes on our social media posts or the praise we receive from others. It is defined by God, who created us in His image and loves us unconditionally. This is a truth we must hold onto, especially in times when we feel overlooked or unseen.
So, how can we break free from affirmation addiction? Here are a few practical steps:
1. Begin with God: No one but God has the authority to tell you who you are. You're defined by who He is and what He's done on the cross. This is the foundation of our identity and worth. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
2. Practice Relational Equity: Be wise in deciding who has permission to speak into your life. Not every voice heard is a voice to heed. Surround yourself with people who uplift you and point you back to Christ (Proverbs 15:22).
3. Practice Affirmation Detox: Start limiting your time on social media and focus on in-person relationships and personal development. Practice detaching your self-esteem from the number of likes, shares or comments your posts receive (Proverbs 4:23).
4. Be Willing to Be Misunderstood: In pursuing God's approval, we may face misunderstanding from others. It's okay. Our ultimate goal is to please God, not people (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
5. Replace the Lies with Truth: Began actively combatting the lies of the world with God's truth. Instead of seeking affirmation from others, start affirming yourself with God's Word, focusing on what He says about you (Colossians 3:2).
We are made for much more than chasing after our worth in all the wrong places. Let's find our approval in Christ alone and live securely in our identity in Him. We can face challenges with courage through the working power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s remain in awe and reverence of Jesus with a devoted persistence in pursuing Him, always remembering that our true worth is found in Christ only. Let’s live from our worth in Christ, not for it.
Brittany Maher & Cassandra Speer are the authors of the best-selling book “Her True Worth.” Check out their latest devotional, “There’s Beauty in Your Brokenness: 90 Devotions to Surrender Striving, Live Unburdened, and Find Your Worth in Christ. and connect with Brittany (@brittmaher), Cassandra (@cassandralspeer) and @HerTrueWorth on Instagram