5 Reasons You May Be Seeking Validation from Others…And Why You Don’t Need It
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Most of us, at one time or another find ourselves seeking validation from others.
Whether on the job, in relationships, while going through stages of self improvement or in response to how we look and how we present ourselves, we have looked to others for the reassurance that we're doing the right thing or have made right choices.
And, while it's certainly not wrong to receive input from others, especially a trusted circle of family or friends, we sometimes learn to depend on this validation entirely in order to function or move forward.
This can lead to a dependence that is not beneficial for you or others and can possibly be detrimental down the road.
What is validation, exactly?
Simply put, it's approval or confirmation from others - hearing that we've done a good job or made a right choice or done the right thing. This can cover a wide range of subjects or circumstances in our lives, from selecting a hair color to making a career choice, but it is basically seeking approval outside yourself.
This input can be a good thing, but it becomes a problem if it is the only way we can feel confident in ourselves and our life choices.
So, why do we seek this validation from others? It may be any one of the following reasons:
5 Reasons For Seeking Validation From Others
1. Lack of Self-Confidence
We've all been there. About to take on a new task or move in a new direction and suddenly you feel like you're in way over your head. You'll never make it. You're crazy for even trying.
It's a terrible, and sometimes frightening, feeling and sometimes all we need is a word from a friend letting us know that we can do it.
We are capable and not crazy.
Encouragement of this sort is fine when needed, but if you cannot make a decision without it, there's a problem.
It may be that your belief in your own abilities has dropped to a point where you can't even make a decision on your own, let alone carry it out.
A severe lack of self-confidence can be almost paralyzing and cause us to reach out for validation for even the simplest tasks.
2. Need for Acceptance
We all need acceptance - reassurance that we are loved and cared for by others, regardless of what we do or decide.
Sometimes, however, this need can escalate to the point where we can't function well without a high level of constant reassurance of this acceptance.
Often, this is rooted in rejection of some kind in our past and can be a difficult thing to overcome.
But, relying on others to fulfill this need in you is often setting yourself up for disappointment.
It's necessary to know and accept yourself first, before depending on receiving that acceptance from others.
3. Sense of Worth
Somewhat related to self-confidence, seeking validation to obtain a sense of self-worth is not uncommon, but it's not healthy, either.
Needing a sense of self-worth, however, goes much deeper than simply lacking confidence.
How much we value ourselves can determine our very motivation for living.
If you feel that you have little or no worth except for what others tell you that you have, you may feel like “Why even bother”?
The truth is, if this is your consistent state of mind, there won't be enough validation in the world to make you feel worthy as a person. A healthy sense of self-worth begins with you.
4. Sense of Identity
Life can be very confusing at times.
These days with all the choices we have to make, as well as all the constant input and influence of the media telling us what we should and shouldn't be, it can be easy to lose your identity in the very process of trying to find it.
When this happens, we sometimes try to establish that identity through others.
If we find validation in certain areas, then this must be who we are, right?
This can be a dangerous context because without a definite sense of your own identity, you can be led down paths that aren't right for you; that may even prove harmful to you as well.
5. Overall Affirmation
It may seem to be splitting hairs here, but there is a distinction between affirmation and a sense of worth or confidence.
Seeking validation for affirmation is needing someone to tell you that you are okay and life is okay and everything else going to be okay.
Sometimes this is secretly a desire for approval of wrong choices, feeling that if someone else thinks this choice is okay, then it must be the right thing.
But, often, it is a lack of inner peace and rest that requires constant calming through the validation of others.
If any of these situations sound like you, don't worry - you're not alone. But even though you're not alone, this is not a place you want to stay.
As much as you may think validation from others is necessary, it truly is not. You don't need it to be strong and successful.
True validation begins within you.
It is important to be completely honest with yourself and find the root of your desire for validation.
Only then will you be able to address it, conquer it and move on.
Regardless of what may or may not have happened to you in the past, you are here today as living proof that you are a strong survivor.
Your life is precious and unique and you fill a place in this world that no one else can fill.
You have gifts and abilities that are unique to you, and a circle of influence that no one else in the world can reach.
Your very existence is validation of the value of your life.
And if you're still here, there is still a purpose to be fulfilled.
Seek out your purpose, remember your worth, and let that give you a new vision and new motivation to carry you throughout your life.
When you are free from depending on others to determine your value, you are truly free to pursue all that life has to offer.
Do you struggle with seeking validation from others? If so, let me know in the comments. If you like this post, please share it with your friends and family. Thanks! You're Awesome!
Kimberly Clay is the founder and creative force behind What She Say. She’s a business professional, writer and editor who’s been creating and managing digital content for nearly twenty years. Her work is now focused in the areas of self-improvement and personal development, and she is passionate about helping other individuals, especially women, to find a path for living their best life.