Do you ever worry unnecessarily about what people might think of you? Would you like to stop seeking external validation and instead step into your own personal power?
If so, this article’s for you because in this article I’m going to share some of the ways I transformed my need to be validated into my superpower.
Each and every one of us has our own superpower.
It’s who we are: our very own identity which doesn’t exist in any other person anywhere else in the world. Even identical twins are unique no matter how similar they look to an outsider.
So next time you doubt yourself, remember you are special, you are unique, and you are valuable.
Oftentimes, when we seek external validation we don’t even realise that we’re doing it. It’s become an unconscious behaviour which we just jog along with and before we know it, it’s become who we are.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Because we can change every aspect of our unwanted behaviours and reclaim our own power.
And the first step to transformation is awareness. Once we’re aware of our own driving thoughts and reactive behaviours we can change our ways.
If you aren’t sure whether this applies to you, check out our article on 17 clues you may be a people-pleaser.
How to Stop Seeking External Validation
First Off, Why do We Seek Validation?
All of us seek validation to a certain degree, at least at some point in our life.
But while some of us keep on with the behavioural pattern without realising it, others suddenly become aware of it and recognise it for what it is: an unhelpful and unproductive habit.
And once we recognise it, half the journey is done.
Shine the torch onto any unwanted habits and it can be transformed. But nothing can be transformed it’s it’s hidden away in the darkness.
As a child, we all faced rejection of some kind or other and we all faced disappointments, disillusionments, rebukes and experiences which hurt us.
Even those of us who are lucky to have grown up in a loving family environment will have experienced this.
And as little children, we took those experiences and made them mean something to us.
We wrote whole stories around them.
We made those incidents mean things like; we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not lovable enough or whatever.
Maybe we had to try to be funny to get attention or bend over backwards to do all the chores that should belong to other people.
And most of the time we think it’s our character rather than a story we’ve formed in our subconscious mind.
So it isn’t a question of whether it happened to us, it’s a question of how much it affected us.
If we grew up in a dysfunctional family, or to parents who weren’t able to show us love, the situation escalates exponentially leaving us to pick up the pieces and more often than not, blame ourselves.
The thing is, this isn’t about blame because even the most lucky person in the world will have grown up with insecurities. And even the most traumatised person in the world can find a way to become the most successful among us.
And these scars which we turn into self-limiting stories aren’t necessarily inflicted on us by anybody doing something wrong. We don’t have to have bad parents to create these stories.
Because all of us, yes even if you think you’re the best parent in the world, all of us are subject to human error which in the eyes of a child can mean something totally unique. Formed by that child’s observation and interpretation of the situation.
How Did I Use to Seek Validation?
I used to live my life in silent trepidation of what people were thinking.
Yet if you had said to me, ‘Soraya do you worry what other people think of you?’ I would have said a full-of-confidence ‘NO’. And I wouldn’t have been lying either.
Because I didn’t consciously care what other people thought of me. I didn’t spend hours gossiping about what people did or worrying about whether they gossiped about me.
I just lived my life my way.
In fact, I felt different to the mainstream society. So it was no surprise that I kept myself to myself back then.
And I didn’t care what people thought.
But I was shy. Why? If you don’t care what people think, why would you be shy?
And I couldn’t say no to people who asked me for favours.
I would defer the decision-making to people around me. I was indecisive.
There was a lot of people-pleasing going on behind the scenes, I just wasn’t aware of it.
Why Did I Defer My Power to Other People?
I don’t have a horror story of being mistreated. I come from a loving family.
I did however feel invisible from a very young age.
I grew up believing that everybody else was worth more than me.
I don’t know why. It’s just the way it was in my head.
So sometimes, we just have to recognise it to change it.
We don’t have to dig into the past and dwell on what ‘damaged’ us because this is just a natural part of life. Our brain creates stories so that it can protect us.
It just so happens that those stories aren’t always true, accurate or helpful.
As an older young person, I developed the story that I was an island and that I couldn’t trust anybody.
I also felt as though I came from a different planet to most people I met.
But through self-work and with the advance of the vegan movement where I was able to feel at home being me and shunning pain and suffering (because I truly can’t understand how anybody can love a dog and eat a cow), I was finally able to put all the other stuff behind me.
And step into my own shoes and say ‘Here I am’.
And I want to help other people who may not feel valuable to recognise that they are incredible beings.
Why Do We Seek External Validation?
We are social animals and in the past, our survival depended on us being accepted into the group.
But these days, obviously that’s quite different and I believe that the true reason for our lack of self-confidence is that we’ve become so disconnected from who we truly are.
And by tuning in to ourselves, we can reclaim our identity.
What feels right for me, doesn’t have to feel right for the other 8 billion people in the world.
So what if people don’t agree, right?
By working on ourselves and discovering our own truth, we become much stronger.
In fact, we can literally change our lives around and discard unwanted habits, swapping them out for new thought patterns and a brand new lifestyle which resonates with our true, core beliefs.
And we can continue to improve ourselves for as long as we breathe.
Who Do You Give the Power to Judge You?
If we let other people define our value, what does that say about us?
It says that we don’t value ourselves.
And do we ever stop to ask ourselves, who is this person whom we’re giving all that power to?
Because generally, when we seek approval, we don’t choose special people to judge us, we just give that power to everybody and anybody.
Think about this for a minute.
You walk into a room full of people and you immediately feel that uncomfortable sensation crawling up your neck. What will they think of you?
But who are they?
So what Can We Do About it?
- Become aware of how it shows up in our lives.
- Get to know your real core values and who you really are.
- Educate our conscious mind by reading, listening, watching and learning.
- Drip-feed our subconscious mind with evidence of why our new behaviour is better than our old.
- Finally, we change our actions and reactions and we step into our new habits with ease (because we have the conscious and the subconscious mind on board).
When we first start thinking about it, our brains may give us resistance.
It’s normal. It’s the brain’s job to protect us and keep us exactly how we are right now. So until we can show that the new way makes more sense, it will continue to resist.
The only way to progress and change comes from within us.
Not from our circumstances. Not from our friends or acquaintances.
But from our thoughts.
Change your beliefs and you’ll change everything.
Believe that you are worthy, complete with your mistakes.
Believe that you are growing and progressing and learning as an intelligent emotional being.
Know that if you allow your light to shine that also helps others to shine their own.
And remember, it isn’t your job to please 8 billion people.
8 billion people aren’t going to agree with you. If you remain true to yourself, you may find a small group of people who feel the same way as you do.
And then you’ve found true friendship with people who resonate, not because you need validation but because you truly love and benefit from each other’s existence in the world.
- How to Accept Your Body – Breaking the Cycle of Negativity
- Why do I Feel Like a Failure at Everything I do?
- 30 Signs You Don’t Love Yourself – Unlocking Inner Happiness
Final Thoughts on How to Stop Seeking External Validation
So any transformation, in a simplified view, has five main steps.
- Shine a light on what IS right now. Investigate, delve deep and understand what is driving you.
- Spend time with the conscious brain working out the logic behind the change you want to see in your life.
- Give your subconscious mind enough evidence (meditation, mantras, videos, books etc.) so that your subconscious is also on board.
- Have a deep knowing that you are growing and that everything is going to work out just fine.
- Finally, see the change reflected in the outer world.
Most people try to change an unwanted behaviour just like that, with a click of their fingers.
‘I’ve decided I want to do X, so I expect X to appear the very next day.’
They then struggle with cravings, mood swings or complete failure to achieve their goal.
It’s a simple formula. Get the subconscious mind and emotional intelligence involved and then it becomes easy.
How to do that depends on many factors including where you’re at right now.
But some of the things which are foundational for getting to know YOU and appreciate how special you are include but not necessarily all of them,
Action to Take to Help You Stop Seeking External Validation
- Take time during the day to do something just for you. It’s valuable ‘you’ time.
- Move your body. Exercise not only keeps you healthy physically, but it also produces dopamine and gives you the feel-good factor. It can also help to increase your energy for the day.
- Meditate. In my opinion, the power of meditation becomes clear the more experience you have. So don’t expect to meditate once and feel completely changed by it. You need to practise daily – even if sometimes you can only manage a few moments a day.
- Eat a healthy plant-based diet. For me, this is essential as it resonates with my beliefs of not causing unnecessary pain or suffering to others. It’s the only peaceful food that exists and it also happens to be super healthy as a bonus!
- Affirmations can be a positive force for many people but make sure you link them to your emotions and really feel the words. Remind yourself daily that you are a beautiful being, just the way you are.
- Journalling. By writing your thoughts on a daily basis you can become more aware of how you are thinking and how your thinking correlates with your external world.
So there you have it, how to stop seeking validation from other people. If you’d like my support to change your life around, feel free to get in touch for a free, no-obligation consultation to see if we’re a match.