Has it ever occurred to you that you may be living your life needing validation from someone else? It’s the same concept of children seeking approval from adults for the choices they make. There are many reasons why we seek validation from others including acceptance or low self-esteem. But the road that follows suit is one that you’re alone in wondering:
How did this happen?
Who did I become?
After walking this path for years, I could barely recognize the person that my younger self would have tried to avoid becoming at all costs. Feeling empowered, blessed, and being kind to myself didn’t seem like it was within reach. I became powerless, depressed, and very spiteful. I had a horrible case of victim-mentality because I needed validation from my husband but blamed him when it wasn’t the validation I was hoping for.
It was only when I read books and attended sessions with a mentor focusing on changing one’s thoughts that I realized how powerful owning my thoughts can be. This didn’t take an hour, a day, or even weeks. It took years for me to work on self-awareness and to commit to taking ownership of myself (it’s still a daily work in progress).
Validation for who you are – which includes your goals, thoughts, and feelings – need to come from you and only you. Don’t let other people’s opinions determine the choices you make. It’s exhausting. You are entitled to happiness but only you can create it.
So here we go. Five reasons why you should stop seeking validation from someone else and, instead, hone in on the power that is within.
You are responsible for your thoughts
If you stop for a moment to consider why someone’s opinion stirs certain emotions in you, you may realize that it’s really the way you feel about yourself that creates those feelings. When you act on a feeling that’s based on a thought, you are accountable for that action regardless of the outcome.
One of my mentors reinforced the idea of being responsible for your thoughts in this way: if someone tells you you’re ugly, the feeling of being ugly comes from the belief you already hold about yourself and not because someone told you that you’re ugly. The hurtful things that people say to you are only damaging when you let them be hurtful. Similarly, you can choose to believe in gender equality despite growing up with a parent who forced it down your throat that one gender is held on a higher pedestal than another. Regardless of someone else’s influence, your thoughts are yours alone.
You are in control of our situation and your future
So you have plans and certain goals you want to achieve? The only person that can make it happen is you.
Let’s take this example: if you’re unhappy with your weight and want to lose ten pounds, you need to start doing what it takes to lose ten pounds. In doing so, you’re changing your circumstance (being pudgy) and you’re changing your future (a healthier and perhaps happier you). It would be ridiculous to think that your partner, mother, or even your personal trainer could lose those ten pounds for you.
You have the power to influence your situation and decide the road ahead of you. That power doesn’t come from someone else unless you allow them to have that power over you. When you feel inclined to let someone else determine your choices, consider whether that person wants to be given that responsibility or if you’ll be okay with the decision they make on your behalf. More often than not, it becomes a burden more than a responsibility stemmed from trust. Don’t give away your power.
Self-love comes from within (and that’s why it’s called self-love)
Love is a great inexplicable feeling and the best kind of love is self-love.
Whitney Houston sang in her song Greatest Love of All:
Because the greatest
Love of all is happening to me
I found the greatest
Love of all inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all
I’m a firm believer that you can achieve your goals as long as you love yourself. When you love yourself, you can love others. When you are kind to yourself, you can be kind to others. When you forgive yourself, you can forgive others. How you feel about yourself and how you see yourself is impactful in honing the power that’s inside you – the power to validate who you are.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions, which means you can’t force them to change their mind
You have no control over how a person feels. For a long time, I needed my husband to validate my decisions. I became more bitter every time he gave a response or acted in a way that was in opposition to what I wanted him to say or feel. Then it dawned on me that I was irresponsible in giving him control. I was ignorant of wanting validation for him and later loathing him for it. I didn’t understand then that he was entitled to his opinions and feelings and it was not my right to try and change that.
Everyone is entitled to how they feel (as long as their actions don’t bring harm to someone else). Expecting others to feel the way you do surely is optimistic, but be realistic that we’re all individualistic. You will always come across folks who just think differently and have different opinions than you even when the subject is about you. We’d be going backward versus progressing if great minds did really think alike.
You need to be your biggest advocate and supporter
It’s great to have a network of support for every chapter we take, but no one is going to root for you and your success more than you. Don’t keep chipping away at who you are. The only way to thrive is to advocate for yourself, your dreams, and your needs.
Remember, how you think about yourself affects your feelings and actions, which ultimately drives the result – your situation and your future. The only way you’re going to get to where you want to go and be who you want to be is contingent upon you.
You got this!