I heard someone make this statement the other day and it made me think. As a person who values significance as one of my top basic human needs, I find the need to seek validation all the time. I look to others to validate my intelligence, my mothering skills, and my value as a human being.
There isn’t anything wrong with needing validation. Or at least I hope there isn’t since I’m one who needs it! By definition, validation is making sure that something is true. It is to establish the soundness, accuracy, or legitimacy of something.
Validation from a psychological standpoint is the recognition and acceptance of another person’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors as understandable. I believe that being able to validate others, even if you don’t agree on something, is an important relationship skill and takes a lot of practice. But I want to go back to the dictionary definition of validation and focus on the phrase, “making sure that something is true.”
Those of us who seek validation usually also struggle with self-value. We need external sources to confirm and validate our value before we believe we are valuable. For instance, we may need a large salary, promotion, or impressive title to validate that we are good at our jobs. We may need our girlfriends to gush all over the fact that they can always count on us to validate that we are a good friend. Or we may need our husband to tell us we are beautiful to validate that we look good for date night. And while this validation is nice to hear, the fact that we look for it from outside sources, by default, gives the power to someone else.
If validation is making sure that something is true, then how can anyone know what is true inside of you, but you?
So, the next time you feel yourself needing to be validated, I want you to try this – self-validation. Self-validation is the recognition and acceptance of your own internal experience, thoughts, and feelings. Being able to self-validate keeps you in control instead of relinquishing that power to others. It also leads to a stronger identity and wisdom.
Learning to self-validate is difficult but the more self-aware you are, the better you will become at being able to self-validate. Here’s what I mean. The next time you find yourself needing your boss or a peer to validate that you did a good job at work, tell yourself that you did a good job. You already know that you did a good job or you wouldn’t be seeking someone else to confirm the fact. You already know it to be true, so congratulate yourself! The next time you find yourself waiting for your husband to tell you that you look nice, look at yourself in the mirror and say that you look beautiful. You already know it to be true, so say it to yourself!
The cool thing is, when you stop looking outside of yourself for validation you will start to attract validation from others. And the bonus is that even though you will be receiving it from others, you won’t need it from them anymore. You won’t need it from THEM because YOU are already providing the only source of validation that you need.
So here’s your challenge this week. It’s a two-part challenge. Part one is to begin to recognize when you are seeking validation from others. Once you catch yourself, part two is to then look inward and provide self-validation. You are all you need to prove you are valuable.
Let me know how this goes in the comments below. Did you learn anything new about yourself by practicing self-validation? Did you discover any tips or tricks that makes it easier to look internally instead of externally? I’d love to hear about them!