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37. The Need for Validation

Validation is the recognition or affirmation that a person (or their feelings and opinions) are valid or worthwhile. For some, seeking validation is a natural response to uncertainty or a way to confirm that their emotions, thoughts, or actions align with societal or personal values.

Why It’s Challenging

Relying too heavily on external validation can lead to dependence on others for self-worth. This can result in fluctuating self-esteem based on external opinions and the potential for manipulation by those who recognise this need in others.

Supporting Ourselves and Others

It’s essential to strike a balance between seeking external validation and cultivating a strong internal sense of self-worth. Supporting individuals means acknowledging their feelings while also empowering them to believe in their intrinsic value.

Practical Steps to Navigate the Need for Validation

  • Self-awareness: Recognise when you are seeking validation and ask yourself why. This introspection can be crucial in understanding underlying insecurities or fears.
  • Positive Affirmations: Cultivate a habit of self-affirmation. Reminding oneself of personal strengths and achievements can reduce the reliance on external sources. Explore techniques from the article on organisation to keep track of these affirmations.
  • Constructive Feedback: Instead of seeking blanket validation, aim for constructive feedback that can help growth and development. This aligns well with understanding the value of handling criticism.
  • Limit Social Media: Social platforms can amplify the need for validation due to ‘likes’ and comments. Being mindful of time spent on these platforms and the emotional impact they have can be beneficial.
  • Professional Counselling: Therapy can help individuals understand and address the root causes of their need for validation, providing tools and strategies for building self-worth.

Examples

  • Personal Relationships: Maya often sought her partner’s approval before making decisions. Recognising her need for validation, she started journaling her achievements and positive attributes, leading to a boosted self-esteem.
  • Work Environment: Jake, feeling unsure about a presentation, constantly sought feedback from colleagues. Instead of general reassurances, he began asking for specific insights, enhancing his skills and confidence.
  • Social Settings: After posting on social media, Priya would continuously check for ‘likes.’ She decided to limit her online presence and focus on real-life interactions, leading to improved mental well-being.

Daily Change Summary

Seeking validation is a human tendency, rooted in our need for social belonging and acceptance. However, it’s vital to cultivate a balance between external validation and self-worth. By recognising the reasons behind our need for affirmation and taking proactive steps, we can develop a robust sense of self-worth and navigate our social world with more confidence.

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