People want to be validated. All of us. We want to be seen and heard. We want to be thought about and thanked. We want to be understood. Validation makes us feel accepted and reassured.
The need for validation is powerful. It can result in us over-servicing, worrying, trying to please everyone, and not feeling like what we offer at any given moment is enough.
The desire for validation is one of the strongest motivating forces known to man.
The need to be acknowledged can guide our choices. It may help to dictate who we love, where we live, and how we carry ourselves through the world. Western culture puts a great deal of pressure on us to look a certain way, to follow specific metrics for success, and to live a particular lifestyle.
We sometimes let the noise of institutions and other people drown out our own voices. We do it on social networks. We do it in meetings. We do it at the dinner table. We look to others to tell us what we should buy, eat, listen to, and read. We do it to not make waves and to get through. We must “like” stuff to be a part of the gang.
External validation feeeeeeeeels gooooood! So, so, so good.
This was ok when we were younger. In our youth we relied on approval from outside sources. It gave us a feeling of safety and security. It’s how we knew we were loved and part of a community. However, as we get older there needs to be a fundamental shift in our primary source of approval.
We have to approve of ourselves. We have to believe that our intuition, instinct, head, and heart can guide us. We cannot hand over control of our lives to our parents, our spouses, our bosses, the church, experts, or any other person or institution.
I am not saying this is easy. I am 49 years old and I STILL have a hard time when my mom does not approve of a choice I make. Yet, I don’t let her disapproval stop me.
This need for approval and validation may never go away, but it does not have to rule us.
We have to be true to our gut, that inner voice that guides us with wisdom and clarity. We have to be in the game for the right reasons – the reasons that fill us up and reinforce what matters to us. We must go for what feels right to us. Every time.
Trust yourself to make your own judgments. Create your own standards. Be honest as you evaluate what works and what does not work in your life.
Learn to validate yo’self!