Validation feels SO good! It’s that positive reinforcement that we’re on the right track. Internal validation relies on you believing in yourself. External validation, on the other hand, counts on you seeking approval from others and that’s where things can get a little sticky.
We want to belong, that’s our natural instinct as the social creatures that we are. But there’s a fine balance between acceptance for who you are and going out of your way to ensure you’re accepted by others.
The reason you do this makes sense though. Somewhere along the way, you got the affirmation that being whoever and doing whatever they wanted would keep you safe from ridicule. You knew it was in your best interest not to cause trouble. Except if you conformed too much, you risked losing your true self.
Of course, external validation is useful, particularly in group settings. You’re gonna want to know where your team members stand on a subject they get a say on, that’s only fair. But for the decisions that only affect you, that only you know about, you don’t need to seek anyone’s approval.
It’s hard to say no
It’s 6 o’clock and you’ve just closed your laptop for the day. You’re counting down the hours till you can be in bed, dead to the world. The next biggest hurdle to cross is dinner. You’re down to make a quick meal that’ll take you 30 minutes tops but your partner wants a more elaborate meal, and one that’s best left in your hands.
You want to make them happy. In your opinion, that’s better than getting into any argument so you agree to cook that meal. You want validation for being a partner who listens so instead of voicing your opinion on the subject, you shove your feelings under the rug.
One or two instances of that is no big deal, but when it begins to stack on top of each other, it’s becomes a habit.
Why you seek external validation
You want to be accepted by the folks you’re around so you do the thing that people like: take their (unsolicited) advice. If you’re an empath, or someone that values making others feel seen, you’ll go out of your way to ensure they get that. And as generous as this is, it can cost you your own happiness.
Self-doubt starts off small then fills out to be a healthy looking garden in your mind. To make up for this, you ask other people for advice, thinking their opinion will be better than yours.
Growing up, I relied on people telling me what I was capable of because I didn’t believe in myself. No one ever doubted me (and who knows how that would have played out if they had) but that didn’t make my own self-doubt any easier to manage. There are still moments where I fall into my old programming, ready to ask someone a simple question that I can answer. Whenever I catch myself, I’m forming a new habit that relies on me trusting my decisions.
If you’re someone who seeks validation, you believe that the mistakes you make negatively impact your self worth. The truth is, your actions and accomplishments have nothing to do with your worth as a human being. You NEVER ever ever need to prove or earn your worth.
It starts and ends with you
You always get the final say and only say. Even when people tell you how they want you to live, you’re the one who decides whether or not to embody that. In most cases (like ones that don’t threaten your safety), no one can force you to do anything against your will.
So then how do you stop seeking validation?
1. Self awareness
Simply knowing when you’re seeking external validation is half the battle. Observe your actions and listen to your thoughts as if you were watching a movie.
When are you more tempted to ask someone for their advice?
How do you view mistakes?
Do you believe you know enough?
You may have no problem making your own decisions when no one’s around but when people are, that’s a different story.
My self- doubt comes on strong when I cook for my family. I’ll doubt that the Shake n Bake chicken is cooked through enough after the 45 minutes mark… even though every other time I’ve cooked for myself it’s turned out great. Since I know that this is trigger for me, I work on my mindset before I start to cook.
2. Honour the answers you get from within
You know more than you think. You get messages from your intuition every day but it may come in so quickly that you second-guess the message. It’ll be that little jolt of discomfort you got when you’ve been asked a favour and felt your shoulders slump or the flush of adrenaline you experienced when you finally got the email you were waiting for.
3. Get your energy levels up!
Take five minutes, maybe even two to get in a positive and energetic state of being when you’re tempted to ask for approval. When you’re feeling doubtful, you’re not exactly bouncing off the walls. You feel lethargic and worried that something will go wrong so increasing your energy levels will shift this to a more helpful state. This will also allow you to approach the situation from an abundant mindset and the belief that you have all you need to make a decision. For some ideas on how to increase your energy levels, download my free list here.
4. Give yourself permission to make mistakes.
Mistakes don’t mean anything about your worth and you can’t avoid them just to make someone else happy. You’re not responsible for actions, only yours.
Allow yourself to make mistakes and know that it’s okay to stumble and fall. You have every intention of things going well, so if it doesn’t, that’s okay! It’s simply an indicator that there’s another way to achieve your goal. Take that next step, trusting that no matter what happens, you’ll find a way through.
It was when you made mistakes that you learned the most, like figuring out that one math question you got wrong …or burning the test altogether. 😆
When you do ask for advice
A lot of people are willing to give you their advice, so when deciding on who to really listen to, make sure that:
- They’re trustworthy
- You respect them
- You care to be around them
- They’ve been where you’re trying to go
- They’re honest and willing to give you that tough love
- They’re good listeners
These, my friend, are a few ways that you can stop seeking external validation. Of course, validation is important but not the external kind. You have everything you need to make the decisions best for your well-being. 💕
Which one resonated with you most? Leave a comment below!