It starts out naturally. What’s the first thing you do as a child when you accomplish something? You look up to your parents for recognition that yes, you did a good thing. Growing up, you learn how to please others, and in return, you feel a bit better about yourself. You may also get to enjoy the occasional pat on the back. Where’s the harm in that?
After all, we all need some form of validation. Even the most independent people will still look for it. But they’re also able to accept their own self-validation. You can’t rely on something external for your sense of self-worth. If you are constantly looking for external validation, you may not last long, whatever you’re trying to do with your life.
Seeking Validation On Social Media
Nowadays, everyone is looking for validation through social media. You want people to appreciate and acknowledge your presence by the means of likes, comments, follows. You’ve heard this before, it’s really trivial. And I’m not saying any of this is wrong. But it’s easy to go overboard. Rating your experiences on the basis of their acceptability on social media is not healthy. When you’re so focused on how others see your work or daily routine, you can lose sight of who you are as a person and what you really care about.
Take A Break From Social Media
Maybe you’ve developed FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) because you’re inundated with a constant stream of updates of your friends’ happy life. Consider taking a break from social media. Comparison to others is the thief of all joy. When you stop obsessing over others you can start intentionally discovering what truly matters to you.
Look carefully at what you are doing. Always look for improvements, even minor ones. Starting a gratitude journal can help you a great deal. Recognize and celebrate all the good things in your life and take a few minutes to focus on the things you’ve done well, the choices that you’re proud of. These little acts of self-validation are the first step to building up and acknowledging your worth.
Put Yourself First
Instead of going straight to others when you’re in need of validation, ask yourself first. And if you still want to hear that praise from someone else, you’re free to make that call. But first, give yourself what you’re seeking from them. The words you want to hear from someone else will be far more powerful if you fully believe what they’re saying.
A Growth Mindset
Success in life comes from the ability to persevere through life’s challenges and failures. Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck calls this attitude a “growth mindset”. It’s an attribute that must be developed, like any other skill or ability. Too often, however, the fear of failing in front of others or being a disappointment limits us. It’s innate to who we are as humans, we need approval. That’s what makes it hard to overcome. But when we stop focusing so much on others, we start to find value in simply learning and growing ourselves as individuals. Ask yourself: What did I learn today? What mistake did I make that taught me something? What did I try hard to do?
Keep in mind that validation is not a bad thing in your life; it is affirming and positive. It only becomes problematic when it becomes the focus of all you do. I really hope that these tips can help you rediscover the true focus of your life’s journey.