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Published on January 26, 2021

Why You Need To Stop Seeking Validation And Start Thriving

Why You Need To Stop Seeking Validation And Start Thriving

Validation is the desire to have someone else’s approval or agreement with what you say, believe, or do. Humans are naturally social creatures. We thrive in a community and, therefore, have a strong desire to belong in that community and seek validation from it.

You may think that this is perfectly normal, and it is. However, where things get a bit blurry is when we start to base all of our decisions, as well as the course of our life, on a collective agreement from others.

A simple example would be making a decision and asking your family or friends the usual question: “do you think that’s a good idea?”

We already know the idea is good, but we still seek validation and agreement from our social circle. Although we do value others’ opinions and how they shape our perspective, we are much more motivated by external validation than our own intuition.

The deeper question here is “why?”

The Power of Outside Influence

It all comes down to the idea of belonging in the world, in your community, in your circle of friends, and your family. When we have the sense that we belong, our love for others and ourselves skyrockets. That love fuels our self-esteem, and it also motivates us to be better and do better in the world.

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This builds up to what psychologists call “self-actualization.”[1] This term refers to our own ability to realize our fullest potential and develop our skills and talents to serve that potentiality. In other words, it’s our launch pad into limitless possibilities because we finally believe we are worthy of them and have what it takes to accomplish them.

How does this connect to outside influence and validation? Well, the psychologist who coined the idea of “self-actualization,” Abraham Maslow, believed that to achieve this highest level of awareness, our basic needs first needed to be met. Those include primary needs, such as food, shelter, water, and safety; but he also included basic psychological needs, such as a sense of belonging, love, and healthy self-esteem.[2]

It’s no surprise then that any gap in these basic psychological needs leaves us open and vulnerable to rely on others for validation. When our self-esteem suffers and we don’t believe in our own power, we turn to our community for help. In every sense, this is a wise decision. After all, our communities are there to help support us and lift us when we’re feeling down and out.

However, there exists a fine balance between asking for advice and depending on it to chart the course of our life. When we begin to depend on this validation as the primary driver, we are turning over the power of our entire life.

Effects of Seeking Validation

We already know that depending on validation from others disempowers us in living our own life. But what are some effects of living a validation-seeking life? It’s important to recognize these as red flags so that we can avoid them. Knowledge and observation are power.

When we’re constantly seeking approvals from other people, we’re only paving way for more anxiety and depression in our life. We may seek validation from others personally, such as via conversation or groups. Most often, via today’s technology, we seek validation online, such as in social media posts and engagements.

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Anxiety and depression begin to play a part when we either don’t get enough validation from others or when we’re anxiously and addictively waiting to receive it. Not only does this continue to strip us of our own power to make decisions, but it also adds unnecessary stress to our life. It may sound like this probability is scarce, but almost 70% of the U.S. population uses social media actively.

With the features available on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, we are constantly validating each other. For the record, this isn’t to say that social media is the culprit. It is simply a magnifying glass to a root cause that has always existed.[3]

Another notable factor to consider is that receiving advice does not come in neutral packaging. When we’re intent on making choices based on other people’s opinions, we’re also taking on the experiences of other people.

Take, for example, your decision to take off a year from school and travel the world. You may seek validation from your family who think it’s a bad idea because your uncle did it once and had a terrible time. His experience shapes his opinion and, therefore, his advice to you will be laden with that experience. No piece of advice is neutral. It is up to us to discern that, but it’s not always that simple.

Lastly and most importantly, seeking validation disconnects us from listening to our own intuition. Our decisions are best left to ourselves and listening to our gut-feeling when thinking of how to proceed.

It’s alright to ask for help when we need a fresh perspective on something, but we ought to be careful to not let that support become a crutch. When we listen to our intuition, we’re also practicing deep trust within ourselves.

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How to Kick the Validation Game and Thrive

First and foremost, we need to turn inward to our own basic needs and see if they’re being met. Do we feel a healthy sense of belonging where we are in life? If not, what or who is standing in our way? Are we equally receiving and giving love? And more importantly, how are we nurturing love for ourselves? These are deep and important questions to consider, and ones that guide us further towards our self-actualization.

Feeding our self-esteem is a potent practice of fully stepping into our own power again. This may look like removing ourselves from certain social circles where we feel peer pressured or minimizing our social media use.

Another powerful practice is meditation! This is a sacred ground for developing our intuition and trusting what comes up. We’ve often heard that all of our life’s questions are answered within, and meditation is the vehicle to those answers. Listening for that deep intuitive nudge is the only validation that is worth seeking because it’s our own.

When it comes to nourishing our self-esteem, there will be times where that power sways and when our confidence takes a hit. These are normal and expected turbulences of living an authentic life. But if we continue and tend to these needs, we’ll grow to realize that our inner power is our greatest asset.

From this place, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to and thrive. This is the practice of self-worth, and it comes in the form of receiving the love and blessings that come our way. We need to learn that we deserve all of the goodness of this life.

The next time you receive something, take it all in. Truly appreciate the kind word, hug, compliment, or recognition. Don’t be quick to dismiss it or return it to the sender. The more you can receive, the easier it will be to believe yourself worthy of it.

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Lastly, welcome the perspectives of others, but don’t depend on them to show you the way. Only you know what is best for you, and this comes through the practice of trusting your own way by following the gentle whispers of your intuition. It will never steer you in the wrong direction.

Final Thoughts

Validation is a slippery slope. It begins when we seek other people’s opinions on our decisions in life, and it becomes complicated when we depend on this validation and live our life from the mode of “people-pleasing” and meeting others’ expectations. Not only does this disempower us, but it also adds more stress, anxiety, and depression to our lives.

Based on Maslow’s psychological studies, we need to meet our basic needs of safety, survival, love, and a sense of belonging in our communities. This will allow us to tend to our self-esteem and listen to our intuitive guiding signals. From here, we can cut the ties of depending on validation and instead, forge our own path in life and thrive along the journey.

More Tips on How to Stop Yourself From Seeking Validation

Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Simply Psychology: Self-Actualization
[2] Simply Psychology: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
[3] Psychology Today: Stop Seeking Validation from Others

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Aleksandra Slijepcevic

Accredited and Certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher writing for Health & Fitness

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Last Updated on March 2, 2021

10 Negative Thoughts We All Have and What to Think Instead

10 Negative Thoughts We All Have and What to Think Instead

I’ll never forget the first time I heard that the way I was talking to myself, realizing how it directly influenced every aspect of my life. We can be our own worst enemy at times and our internal conversation and negative thoughts can be extremely limiting. Like most people, I was blind to this somewhat obvious piece of information.

Eventually, I realized that the negative thoughts I had weren’t facts at all, but instead self imposed limitations that I was putting on myself, which I also had the power to remove. Over the last decade, it has become very clear to me that most of us actually have very similar negative thoughts. Here are some of the most common negative thoughts we all have and what we should think instead.

1. I Am Not Good Enough

Have you ever thought that you weren’t good enough? When we feel that we aren’t good enough, we tend to drown in this emotion of self-doubt and pity. It can be a symptom of low self-esteem, but the truth is that every one is good enough.

You might not have the skills or tools to achieve what you want now, but you are certainly good enough and worthy of receiving what you want in life. If you have a $10 bill, and it falls on the ground into a puddle of mud, does that $10 lose its value? Of course not! So why do you feel that you lose value based on what you have done in life?

What to Think Instead

Instead of saying, “I am not good enough,” tell yourself that you are worthy of all you desire in this life, just like everyone else[1]. Focus on the things you like about yourself in this moment. You can even make a written list and post it nearby if it helps you to see it each day[2]

Practice Loving Yourself to Overcome Negative Thoughts

    2. I Can’t Do It

    “Can’t” is one of the most limiting words that you can tell yourself. Henry Ford once said,

    “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.”

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    If you tell yourself that you can’t, you are sending messages to your mind and brain that you can’t, and so that will be your experience. Your mind won’t try if you have already told it that something is impossible. 

    What to Think Instead

    Instead of focusing your negative thoughts on what you think you can’t do, tell yourself, “I can do whatever I put my mind to.” While we all do have limitations, believing in your abilities in the first step to achieving your short and long term goals in life. 

    And sometimes, you may just need a little motivation boost. Get the Instant Motivation Boost Worksheet, it’s a free worksheet that will guide you to do the little things for an instant boost of motivation. Grab the free worksheet here.

    3. I’m Not as Lucky as Other People

    This thought normally comes from holding an illusion that other people’s lives are better and they are luckier, and that is what separates you from them. “Perfect” doesn’t exist, and there is often a lot of effort that goes behind that perceived “luck.”

    It is very disempowering to think that life will never offer you good things; the truth is that if you tap into some gratitude, you’ll see that you already have good things all around you. 

    What to Think Instead

    Instead of focusing on all the luck others seem to have, tell yourself, “Good things can and will happen to me.” Use a sense of gratitude to begin to notice all of the good things you would normally never notice. For example, when was the last time you felt grateful for the roof over your head, the food in your fridge, or your comfy bed?

    4. I Don’t Think I’ll Ever…

    Whatever you believe will become your reality, this is true. You shape your future every day by the choices you make and your habits. You can sabotage your opportunities by limiting yourself with negative thoughts.

    What would it be like if you believed that you could do what you really desired and have the experiences you wished instead? It is not about getting it right the first time, but trying. Don’t stop yourself before you have even given yourself a chance.

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    What to Think Instead

    Don’t limit yourself with negative thought patterns that tell you you’ll never do something. Instead, tell yourself, “I am confident I will…” Even if you don’t feel confident in this moment, feeding your brain positive thoughts will slowly build confidence over time. 

    5. I Should Be Better Than I Am

    Using the word “should” in this context makes this a truly negative thought and makes one feel less than they are. How often do you find yourself saying “I should be more clever, more disciplined, more productive, etc. than I am”? Remember how you feel immediately afterwards?

    What to Think Instead

    Tell yourself, “I am making an effort to change what I don’t like.” Everyone has parts of themselves that they hope to improve, and this is certainly possible, but it requires approaching these things with a sense of self-love and patience. 

    Set yourself goals for the things you are not happy with instead of telling yourself what you “should” be like or be doing. Take action the things you wish to change and remove limiting modals from your vocabulary.

    Here are some ways you can start to improve yourself.

    6. I Am Not Strong Enough

    It’s normal to feel that you are not strong enough at times[3]. We are all human, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel weak at times. What is important though, is the conversation you have with yourself afterwards. If you keep reinforcing the fact that you don’t feel strong with negative thoughts, how can you expect to feel?

    What to Think Instead

    Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, tell yourself that you are strong enough to deal with the challenges in front of you, and support yourself in finding the strength you need in that moment.

    7. Nobody Cares

    It might feel that you are alone at times and that nobody cares, but I am convinced that there are people thinking about you that you don’t even know of. People do care; not everyone expresses their emotions in the same way. It isn’t nice feeling that nobody cares, so stop focusing on that and assuming what other people feel when you don’t actually know. Change your focus to something that makes you feel better instead.

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    What to Think Instead

    Instead of assuming that no one cares about you, remind yourself that there are people in your life who do, in fact, care very much. Do your best to cultivate those relationships and accept the love others are willing to give in order to combat your negative thoughts. 

    8. I Am Not Smart Enough

    This is a very general statement, yet many people tend to say it often and then feel bad about themselves afterwards. What are you not smart at specifically? I bet that if I asked you to identify some areas that you are smart in, you could if you really tried.

    Not everybody is clever and perfect in every area, and this is what makes us all unique. If you feel that you are lacking in a certain area of knowledge, instead of producing negative thoughts, make time to study and learn whatever it is that you want so that you don’t feel this way any more.

    What to Think Instead

    Instead of believing that you’re not intelligent, remind yourself that you are smart in a unique way and that you are capable of improving your knowledge in any area you choose. Lifelong learning can be a goal you constantly work toward.

    9. If I Don’t Do Well, I’m a Failure

    Holding high expectations for yourself and having conditions attached to your self worth on your performance isn’t fair. You need to take chances in life if you want to get different results. Don’t be scared of failing; the real failure lies in never having tried.

    What to Think Instead

    When facing a challenging situation or possible risk, tell yourself, “I am going to try; I am not scared of failing; that is not what is important.” Even if you “fail,” you will learn something about the world and yourself, and as long as that’s the case, nothing is ever a true failure. 

    10. Bad Things Will Happen

    Thinking negatively in general is thinking that whatever happens, it is most likely going to be the worst case scenario. What would it be like if you imagined the best case scenario instead? Our positive and negative thoughts are very powerful, and it’s common to use visualization as a technique to imagine the best case scenario.

    Whether you imagine the worst or the best case scenario, you are influencing your results. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen and rather on what you want to happen.

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    What to Think Instead

    Instead of thinking that bad things will happen when you try something, try thinking that the best will happen. This way, you’ll aim high, and even if you fall a little short, you’ll still get farther than you were before. 

    Final Thoughts

    We all have negative thoughts from time to time. However, when the majority of your thoughts are negative, you are undermining your happiness at the end of the day. Our thoughts directly affect how we feel and, therefore, what we do in life.

    If you’re feeling sad and are overwhelmed with negative thoughts, you can consider contacting a mental health professional to give your mental health a boost and get you back on track toward positivity.

    Don’t limit yourself or what is possible for you. Master your thoughts and change your results. 

    More on How to Stop Negative Thoughts

     

    Featured photo credit: arash payam via unsplash.com

    Reference

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