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Seek No Approval: A Brief Tale

Note: This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

He tells stories of visiting foreign lands, meeting celebrities, and selling to crowds.

“I used to own a successful business,” he says. “I thought I’d be a billionaire. But sometimes you can’t fix your mistakes.”

Now he’s approaching middle-age and works in an office. It’s a respectable company, but his position is far from the spotlight he once enjoyed. According to his stories, he used to impress his clients with upscale dinners, tailored suits and a toned physique. Today, he sits slouched in his chair, slightly disheveled, masking the extra pounds he’s gained in oversized clothing.

“I was athletic in my younger days, good-looking, lots of friends. No one likes you when you’re fat.”

He thinks his stories are his most attractive feature, proof that he was once capable of greatness. He tries to impress his co-workers with them every day. He anticipates their rapt expressions, their eagerness for him to tell them more.

But he gets the opposite. His co-workers think he’s full of deceit and exaggerations. They can’t imagine the person they see in him today was ever capable of the accomplishments he claims in his stories. Some have started rolling their eyes and turning their backs to him. Instead of respect, he’s earning disgust.

Disheartened by their reaction, he sinks deeper into his chair. He tells himself he will stop telling stories. But he is at a loss. How else will he gain their approval?


  • I agree that we must promote self love. In a work environment, you’re hired to do a service for others and you’re evaluated for your job performance, so it is appropriate to seek approval that you are doing a good job. However, this person’s stories seem to come from deeper, unresolved issues with failure and lacking forgiveness of self for past mistakes or for not living up to what he thought was his potential. He is mistakenly seeking resolution of those issues from his co-workers when the only way he can feel the respect he seeks is to find it within himself.

    A. Reader
  • All those stories everyday is a lot for anyone. I have to assume he is inturrepting his co-workers who are trying to do work to tell these stories.

    If it is respect he is looking for, he should stop telling the stories and start acting like the person he wants his co-workers to see. It sounds like he isn’t trying as hard as he did in the past to be successful.

    He can get more respect by actually doing the work and allowing others to do their work, than constantly talking about the past

  • We must surround ourselves with energies that promote self love. Validate self by living unconditional love. Recognize, realize and reverence the worthiness of your own existence. Give yourself permission to love YOU. YOU are the breath of life, therefore, the creation of YOU is obviously important. Dr. Wayne Dyer wrote these words; “the finding of God is a coming to one’s own self”!


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