This is an edited version of a podcast episode. If you prefer to listen, click Make Me Whole Podcast to find this and all my other episodes.
Hello, and welcome! In this post, I’m going to be talking about something that, for many of us, takes up more brain space than it should: exterior validation. How many of you have struggled with seeking approval from other people? I know I have! But, I think it’s time for us to break free from the cycle of looking for the approval of others and learn to embrace who we really are. Validation is approval or recognition from others, whether it’s through social media likes or in-person compliments. And while validation can feel good in the moment, it’s not a sustainable or healthy way to build long-term self-confidence. Seeking these pats on the back oftentimes leads to low self-esteem, a crippling fear of failure, and true difficulty in making your own decisions.
So how do you shift gears and realign your priorities? I have some suggestions. First, you have to focus on your own personal growth. Instead of waiting for others to tell you what your life should look like, focus on your own interests, your own self-improvement. Learn something new. Take up a new hobby. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. The more time that you invest in yourself, the more self-confidence you are going to gain. Embrace your true self. Accepting yourself how and where you are is so critical for breaking free of the cycle. You need to learn to be honest and compassionate with yourself about not only your strengths but also your weaknesses. Don’t allow yourself to be afraid to be vulnerable. The more authentic you are, the more you’ll attract real relationships and connections with other people. Take some time to consider your passions and goals. You know, when you discover what your mission is and focus on the purpose of your life, you can create this real sense of fulfillment that nothing from the outside, no external validation, is going to compare to. Whether it’s a charity, your career, making art, or whatever else, finding what drives you will make your life clearer and more peaceful. Practice mindfulness and gratitude. They’re going to help you stay present and appreciate the moment instead of focusing on all the things that are lacking. You’ve got to focus on the abundance in your life, the things you’re really grateful for. And of course, surround yourself with supportive people. I cannot emphasize this enough. You know that saying: your tribe is your vibe? Your time and energy are precious, so be intentional about who you share them with. The people in your circle have a significant impact on how you see yourself, so why not create a circle of people that lift you up and encourage you?
You know, when people try to invalidate you, their opinions are not an accurate reflection of you. With those types of people you have to set boundaries. Focus on your own, true understanding of yourself, and limit your time with those individuals who have demonstrated time and time again that they just don’t believe in you. They want you to be in a lower, quieter, more docile place. Turning away from that validation can be incredibly challenging, especially when you are bombarded by all these images of people “living their best lives” on social media. But remember: comparison is the thief of joy. That joy is rightfully yours, don’t let them take it! Instead of trying to draw parallels between your life and others’, focus on your own journey and celebrate progress.
How is this shift going to improve your life? Well, you’re going to have better self-esteem. When you realign your focus away from others’ opinions, your self-esteem will naturally improve. Over time you will have less of a tendency to compare yourself to others or base your mood on Instagram likes. You will create and nurture authentic connections. Letting go of that need for constant approval is going to improve your relationships with those around you, those friendships, those connections. When you’re true to yourself, you’re going to attract people who appreciate and accept you for who you are. And perhaps most importantly, relying on your own instincts and values is going to bring you a sense of inner peace and feeling of contentment. You’ll no longer feel the need to prove yourself to others or seek their approval. Remember, if you find yourself slipping back into old habits, take concrete action to get yourself back in a better place. Focus on your own personal growth, embrace your true self, find your passions, practice mindfulness and gratitude, and surround yourself with those who do the same.
My tribe is my vibe, and I am grateful every day for the group of people that I'm surrounded with who love and appreciate me in ways I never could have imagined. It’s a good feeling to not have to validate who I am and how I feel to the people I interact with regularly. Reach out if you have any topics you’d like us to discuss. Remember, complain less and do more!