How often are you proud of something you do until no one acknowledges it and you feel embarrassed? Suddenly, your feeling of accomplishment transforms into the wicked step-sister of self-doubt.
Needing approval does this crazy thing that piggybacks off our unwavering obsession with instant gratification and consumes us to believe we are or are not good enough based off the immediate response we get from others.
Here’s the thing: When your self-worth is determined by the world’s reaction of you, you’re setting yourself up for hard times.
We all demonstrate the desire for validation, just in different ways.
Maybe you feel stupid for wearing a self-expressive outfit because people look at you weird, or you’re afraid to write or say something because it’s an unpopular opinion, or you take a risk and immediately regret it when certain people react negatively.
Although the situation may be different, the needy child in our mind that’s craves approval is the same for all.
Do you ever catch yourself taking three massive steps back from the self-confident individual you’ve proudly become?
It’s frustratingly easy to get captured in the web your thoughts are constantly weaving. Throw societal pressures on top of there and it begins to feel impossible to remove the leech of validation.
When your inner-voice shouts you’re not good enough just because people don’t react the way you expect them to, it’s unfair. It promotes the seemingly inescapable belief that you’re not doing things right. It belittles your improvements and masquerades your accomplishment as a failure. Even if you don’t succeed the way you planned, you’re still putting yourself out there and trying – which is an overlooked accomplishment in itself.
The shocking, yet great news is that you’re in control of diminishing this suffocating need. It boils down to two things: values and perception.
When you feed your hunger through validation, you won’t live life according to your values.
You do things for “them” and not you. You starve your desire to mark up to expectations that you didn’t even set for yourself. You prioritize your life based off what others will like, not you.
Get this: The values you hold are important. They are unique to you. Don’t let others steal them because the lack of validation is telling you that your truth isn’t good enough. Wasting your capacity on pleasing others rather than yourself crumples your potential.
Let your passions drive you, not others. Get plugged in. When you’re consumed by what matters to you, you’re completely engaged with your values. This leaves little space for needing approval.
If you’re not sure where to start, be as blunt with yourself as possible. Before you do anything, ask yourself “am I doing it for me or for someone else?”
Having a validation-based mindset is having an assumption-based mindset. You’re assuming what people are or are not doing is about you.
Just because people aren’t confirming what you’re doing or who you are, doesn’t mean they are against you. An empowering thought-saving piece of advice is not to take anything personal – the good or the bad.
With our narrative nature, everything is about us. If you give yourself a moment to pause and frankly admit to yourself that everyone else is not as concerned with you as you think they are, the need for validation thankfully releases its clenching grip on your mind.
This elementary perception-change carries a colossal impact. With this small change, you take the power away from others to influence you when it matters most. You now regain the authority of something that is rightfully yours, your own life.
You’re human. You want to feel appreciated. You want to be enough.
Appreciate yourself. Treat yourself like you’re enough. Because you are. And the most important opinion of yourself should be your own.
If you’re doing your best to tackle your own dreams and represent yourself, be proud of yourself.
If you’re doing your best to get through the day and live a life that aligns with your passions, be proud of yourself.
If you’re doing your best to carry on despite your internal doubts, be proud of yourself.
These are not easy accomplishments in today’s world. But that’s only because we welcome validation as a best friend. A pal we confide in to make important decisions. Unveil this nagging need for what it really is: your enemy.
If you feel pressured to justify yourself to anyone, maybe that person isn’t good for you. People should accept you. Not judge you and shame you into being someone you’re not. Quit destroying yourself for others.
You don’t need proof that what you’re doing matters. You don’t need confirmation from others regarding how you live your life. As long as you’re on your own side, needing approval from others can become a thing of the past.
This way, you can focus on what matters to you and be the best version of yourself.
Stop picking your own flower petals apart, throwing them to the ground and leaving your stem empty.
Repeat after me: I am enough.