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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
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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 July 21, 2021

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary
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When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of your vocabulary.

By saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that barrier around your life tighter.

So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.

From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

“Attitude is Tattoo”

Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially the end result. How you approach an opportunity, and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your boss or your co-worker or friend.

If you enter a business meeting with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire. People can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.

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Now imagine you enter a business meeting with a positive attitude, that whatever happens in here is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we can’t always win, but even if the outcome is negative, your attitude and perception can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

Of course you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — your poise, your energy, the reason why things go so well because you are able to maintain such character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.

When I say your “attitude is tattoo”, it sounds permanent. Tattoos can be removed, but that’s not the point. Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.

Change your attitude and I guarantee the results change as well.

Believe You Can Do It

Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. The one thing we have to purge from ourselves is fear — fear of bad results, fear of change, fear of denial, fear of loss, the fear that makes us worry and lose sleep. Worrying is the same as going outside with an umbrella, waiting for rain to hit it. Stop worrying and move on.

Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly, but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy.

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Learn how to boost your confidence: How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

Embrace Failure

Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and take action. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

Your confidence will bolster after embracing these facts. You will be immune to demoralizing results, and instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

Don’t let one simple and ugly word plague your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

Start Making the Change

But to actually start the process of change is very challenging.

Why is that?

Fear? Time? Don’t know how — or where — to start?

It’s hard because what we’re doing is unlearning what we know. We are used to doing things a certain way, and chances are we’ve been doing them for years.

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So here are some ways that I avoid using the word “can’t”, and actually take the steps to put forth the change that I wish to see. I hope you can incorporate these methods into your life.

Write down What You Want to Change

Write it on post-its, notecards, whatever makes you comfortable — something you will always see. I usually write mine on post-its and put them all over the wall behind my monitor so I always see them.

Tell a Friend and Talk About It

Discussing your goals, what you want to change, is very effective when you say it out loud and tell another person other than yourself. It’s almost like saying, hey, I bet I can do it — watch me.

When you fulfill that goal and tell your friend, it feels rewarding and will motivate you to do it again in a different aspect. Who knows? Maybe your friend adopts the same mindset as you.

Stop Yourself from Saying the Forbidden Word

Sometimes,I can’t control myself in public when I’m with friends, so I have to be careful with the words I use so I don’t embarrass or insult anyone.

Treat the word “can’t” as the worst word you can possibly use. Stop yourself from saying it, mid-sentence if you must, and turn your whole perspective around — you can do it, you will do it, and nothing is impossible!

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

You think this change will be overnight? No way. This is a practice. Something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life from now until forever.

As I said earlier, you are unlearning what you know. You know how easy it is to say you can’t do something, so by unlearning this easy practice, you’re self-disciplining yourself to live without boundaries.

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Practice this everyday, a little at a time, and before you know it, the word can’t will not be part of your language.

Do Anything That Can Relieve Your Uncertainty

When I catch myself saying I can’t do something or I don’t know something, looking up information on that action or subject, doing research, educating yourself, relieves that uncertainty.

Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the whole idea of it seems too large. We skip the small steps in our head and only focus on the end.

Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.

Final Thoughts

You know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin this habit, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.

The funny thing is: Those doors have always been there. The evil word that we no longer use put a veil over our eyes because that’s how powerful that word is.

More Tips for Strengthening Your Resilience

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

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