07 Mar Freedom: Removing my need for external validation
Oprah has a famous quote on validation: I learned that early on is that every human being is looking for one thing………….to be validated, to be seen and to be heard.
Oprah is right.
Even if the other person disagrees with your opinion, you are still seeking validation from them, you want them to hear what you to see your point of view.
Throughout my dating life I have been told, “you seek too much validation from others.” Now, I have finally come to the realization that this is indeed quite true. In fact, now I understand that by my need to seek validation, would have been perceived as neediness.
In my life, I’ve been put in positions where I have developed or executed an idea, but received no recognition for it. I have always felt that my presence was taken for granted in my professional and personal relationships. I have been kind to others only for them to highlight what is wrong with me or which parts of me they can’t deal with. I’ve had instances of pure vulnerability only for it to be dismissed or to be told that the real issue is my perception, not the situation at hand. I wouldn’t lie, it hurts like hell not be acknowledged.
Ultimately, what I was searching for is connectedness, to be truly seen, heard and understood by someone else.
To get to the core, the fundamental issue was I never validated myself.
But how could I?
I didn’t even know how.
Growing up we are taught that we must seek the approval of our parents or teachers or people in our lives. This approval is validated with a pat on the head and a token “Good boy” or “good girl” by our elders when we do something to please others. At what point in time in our lives do we switch from understanding that it is not the approval and acceptance of others that count, but the unwavering approval and acceptance of ourselves, flaws and all; the source of unconditional love.
When I started to recognise my good traits and was brave enough to voice them, I had to convince myself that this was not being a braggart that I was, in fact, honouring, respecting and loving myself by continuous positive reinforcement. I noticed that as I became more comfortable with self-praise it became easier for me to recognise when others praised me which allowed me to thank them as opposed to years ago where I would negate the validation given to me?
Next time you are praising yourself, think of this praise as baking yourself a delicious chocolate cake and the praise that you receive from others, think of this as the icing on the cake.
In my own life, I am generous with validating others.
I try as much as possible to say thank you and to acknowledge the people in my life who have positively impacted me in the hope that it helps them to reveal themselves more to the world and to know that someone has noticed how wonderful they are. In learning how to praise myself, I’ve made it a daily ritual. It is the act of knowing how to validate myself I will understand how I want the people in my life to validate me and teach them to do the same.
Here’s to the journey of self-awareness.