When others approve of what we do or say, we feel good; when they disapprove, we feel bad. Their opinions of us, and how those opinions make us feel, can have positive value. By making us feel good about steering a straight course, they encourage us to continue doing so. "People-pleasing" is something else entirely. We "people-please" when we do things, right or wrong, solely to gain another person's approval.
Low self-esteem can make us think we need someone else's approval to feel okay about ourselves. We do whatever we think it will take to make them tell us we're okay We feel good for awhile. Then we start hurting. In trying to please another person, we've diminished ourselves and our values. We realize that the approval of others will not fill the emptiness inside us.
The inner satisfaction we seek can be found in doing the right things for the right reasons. We break the people-pleasing cycle when we stop acting merely to gain others' approval and start acting on our Higher Power's will for us. When we do, we may be pleasantly surprised to find that the people who really count in our lives will approve all the more of our behavior. Most importantly, though, we will approve of ourselves.