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How to stop chasing validation

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

The first thing we should look at is why we do chase validation from other people. Mainly it's because each of us cares too much about what other people think.

We allow other people’s expectations to weigh heavily on us and then try to live up to those expectations. The only way we know if we have succeeded is to seek that validation and to keep going after it. It makes us feel good, right?

When you were a child and you did something that pleased your parents or other adults, such as sports coaches, you received praise and that then continues throughout your life. You are expected to achieve something or behave a certain way and then you chase that validation until it is recognised.

The only issue being is it becomes addictive. If you do not receive that praise or validation you are left feeling down, incomplete, or even not good enough.

While it is natural to seek validation from other people it can reach unhealthy levels. If we have any doubt in our actions, beliefs, or abilities these will then be magnified when we do not receive the praise. When we lack self-confidence, any disapproval or criticism with being painful to hear when we put so much value on other people’s opinions.

Learning to self-praise, self-validate will give us the same feeling as receiving it from someone else and because we are not seeking it externally it builds internal mental strength.

Some ways to self-validate:

  • Encouraging yourself. Giving yourself a pep talk every day and after reaching a goal of achieving success.

  • Understanding and acknowledging your strengths, successes, progress, and effort level.

  • Accepting your flaws, failings and mistakes as learning experiences.

  • Recognising and accepting your feelings and that every feeling is valid, even when they are different to other people’s.

  • Prioritizing your needs and accepting that they are not selfish in any way.

  • Develop a positive mindset especially about yourself.

What to avoid:

  • Self-criticism. Being hard on yourself.

  • Comparing yourself to others. (No one has had the same journey.)

  • Minimizing or denying your needs and feelings.

  • Perfectionism.

  • Judging yourself.

To stop chasing validation from other people is the first critical step to developing mental strength. Once you start to self-validate instead you will stop looking externally and start to build the resilience of a mentally strong mind.

Questions to work through:

1. Do you seek validation from other people and how often?

2. How is your mood affected when you receive that validation?

3. When do you seek validation the most?

4. Why do you need it?

5. How can you stop seeking it and validate yourself?

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