The Struggle for External Validation

How much of what we do throughout our lives is done in order to please others? External validation. I’ve been thinking about this a lot within the past few weeks. External validation is basically our need for approval from other people. As you move through the motions of your days, do you ever stop to think about how you choose to spend your time and energy?

External validation is like a great big pat on the back that we’re constantly seeking from other people.

It feels good when the people around us share that they are proud of us, or that they support us. It’s reassuring when we know we have the acceptance and encouragement of those who matter most to us. Checking off that next box and taking one more step in the “right” direction can be so fulfilling. Getting another like on your most recent post or an A in that class can help you feel empowered and intelligent. In some ways, external validation is a way in which we feel connected to others. There’s an adrenaline rush that comes with being accepted, and liked, that allows us to feel good and happy.

At the same time, if we begin to rely on external validation too often we may set ourselves up for feeling empty or disappointed in the long run.

Have you ever wanted to do something and felt like you “couldn’t” or maybe “shouldn’t” because other’s may not approve? It can be a stifling and suffocating experience to recognize that you’re stopping yourself from living your best life out of fear that others may not approve.

I believe we have a lot of the answers we need inside of us but having the strength to live that out can be really difficult. I believe the relationship we have with ourselves is so, so important to the overall joy and vibrancy we come to experience in our day to day lives.

If you recognize that you are living life based on other’s expectations or seeking external validation, I want to encourage you to tune inward. Are there ways you can validate your own choices and experiences? Ask yourself if you feel good about yourself in your core? What does that feel like? Where do you notice a bump or a hiccup? Can you see places where you are relying solely on the encouragement or support of others? If you do, how can you provide this support for yourself? When you see that you’re really relying on outside source for some kind of approval, think about how you could give the same approval and support for yourself.

In working on building your own self worth, you can begin to live life from a place that is deeply grounded and connected. Strengthening the skill of self validation can help you to know that you are always enough, even if the outside world isn’t directly telling you that. Developing the ability to validate for yourself allows you to live more at ease and let go of the need for other’s praise at times. It can help you to take a big leap that may just lead you to a more joy filled life!

Picture of Chelsea Connors

Chelsea Connors