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Are you Validating your own Life and Experiences?

(External validation does not equate to your self-worth!)

We live in a society where we have been conditioned from a very young age to seek external validation for what we are doing and how we are experiencing our lives. Right from when we are young children being told how to be and how to act by primary care-givers, teachers and other adults to constantly seeking the approval of bosses, friends and partners in our adult life.

Self-worth does not equate to external validation and yet so many of us rely on this source for our own emotional well-being and self-esteem.

What can seeking external validation look like?

A level of experiencing external validation can be healthy; feedback helps us to understand what and how we are doing things, and helps us to feel supported by those we care about. We learn from those around us who may have had different life experiences than us, widening our perspectives. However, relying on external validation as our primary sustenance and motivation can be dangerous, and can become addictive; leading us to being totally reliant on the attention and praise of other people and leaving us feeling disempowered, lost, and unable to validate our own experiences.

Seeking external validation can present as someone who is a ‘high-achiever’ or ‘good girl/boy/person’, constantly aiming to meet society’s high standards and their own augmented expectations to succeed and achieve.

It can also present in elements such as being unable to disagree or confront people, to changing thoughts and beliefs to match those around you, to excessive people pleasing in order to be ‘liked’ and ‘accepted’ by your community or the people you surround yourself with.

So how do we get the balance right?

We have all been in situations where we are aiming high and exceeding at something we have put our heart and souls into, and it can take just one person’s negative comment or criticism to knock us down leaving us diminished in self-worth and leading to us doubting our own abilities.

We have also all been in situations where we are excelling at something and the compliments and congratulations of our peers/friends/relatives feel good so we try to recreate similar experiences to recreate the ‘good’ feelings of being admired/supported etc.

Support and love from those we care about is incredibly important, however it can be helpful to remember that everyone we are connected to and everyone we come across is going through their own crazy experience of life just as we are.

In actual fact, some of the external validation you may be seeking from a particular person will be coming through their own filter of how they see themselves and the world due to their own past experiences and may not be of any use to you at all.

How do we validate our own experiences?

Spending time getting to know ourselves and understanding our motives can be an incredible foundation for validating our own experiences. When we trust that we are acting from a place which is in line with our own values, other people’s reactions and validation matter a lot less and we begin to feel empowered and as if we can trust ourselves.

It all starts with awareness, bringing awareness to times when you are looking for others to validate/like/approve of whatever you are doing, and starting to observe this. It can be helpful to isolate and acknowledge the emotion that this arises in you, separate it out from the situation, and then look at the black and white facts.

- Is what I am doing in line with my values?

- Do I approve of what I am doing?

- How does what I am doing make me feel?

These simple questions can help to bring awareness and perspective to situations and the focus becomes a more internal one, in line with sharing from the heart. When we trust thatour intentions and actions inherently come from a good place, we start to seek less validation and acceptance from others around us, and validate our own experiences.

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