How to STOP Seeking External Validation

Picture this: you’re scrolling through social media, and you see someone’s post getting tons of likes and comments. Suddenly, you feel a pang of jealousy or insecurity.  Or what about this: you just got some great news to share—maybe a promotion or an award you worked hard for—but people don’t react as enthusiastically as you wanted them to, and it suddenly kills your mood. Sound familiar?

We’ve all been there; we all have a deep-rooted desire to feel accepted and valued by others. That’s why we tend to seek validation from others through their praise, admiration, and support. But when we rely solely on others to validate our worth, it can leave us feeling empty and constantly seeking more.

Now, here’s the good news: you have the power to validate yourself. With that said, let’s explore a few simple yet powerful psychology-backed strategies to help you gain that inner confidence boost that comes from within.

Recognize The Cycle

Let’s start by acknowledging the cycle of seeking external validation. Take a moment to tune in to your thoughts and feelings. Notice when you’re seeking external validation and ask yourself why. What situations trigger your need for validation? Maybe you’ve been feeling insecure about something lately and want some praise to boost your ego, or maybe you didn’t get enough attention and praise as a child which caused you to grow up needing it more than others. Understanding the patterns can help you break free from them. By knowing your motives for seeking external validation, you can find healthier and better ways to address them and start building your self-esteem from within. 

Practice Self-Appreciation

Another important step to letting go of your need for approval is by strengthening your foundation of self-acceptance. This way, you will no longer feel the need to look to others to feel good enough about your choices and decisions. Keep a self-appreciation journal, where you start acknowledging daily or a few times a week the things you’re most proud of about yourself: choices you’ve made, insights you’ve learned, things you like about yourself, times you’ve stayed true to yourself, or whatever feels right for you.

Try Rejection Therapy

Ever heard of rejection therapy? Instead of avoiding rejection, you actively seek it out. It might sound scary, but it’s actually a game-changer for boosting your confidence and ditching the need for constant validation! 

Here’s how it works: You deliberately put yourself in situations where rejection is possible. Start small — like asking for a discount or trying for a job you think you’re not qualified for — until you’re eventually confident enough to do things like asking out strangers or pitching ideas at work. 

As you constantly subject yourself to rejection (or even just the possibility of it), you realize it’s not as terrible as you thought and you become less afraid of it. This helps you stop relying on others’ opinions for validation, so you can start validating yourself. 

Set Personal Goals

Instead of relying on external benchmarks of success, set your own personal goals and milestones. Ask yourself: What do I want to achieve? What do I want out of life? Try to separate this from what others expect from you, want of you, or need from you. Whether it’s mastering a new skill or pursuing a passion project, focusing on your own goals, guided by your own values, can boost your self-esteem and sense of fulfillment.

Most importantly, when you set personal goals, whether you fail or succeed isn’t as important as how much you grow and learn as a person. By shifting your perspective, you can turn every setback into an important lesson and every goal as a catalyst for self-validation.

Listen to Your Intuition

You know yourself best, right? So, why rely on others for answers? Ancient wisdom tells us that everything we need is already inside us; we just need to listen. Cultivate stillness by spending time in nature, taking time off your phone, going for a walk, meditating, or journaling. Once you’ve found your moment of stillness, start listening. What does your gut say? Make decisions that align with what you authentically believe, feel, and desire. Check in with yourself that it feels right and remind yourself that it is your choice to make. Remember, your intuition is your inner compass, guiding you toward self-validation and alignment with your true self.

Use Self-Care to Self-Validate

Doing things that nourish your mind, body, and soul is a powerful way to validate yourself and far better than relying on others’ approval. Whether it’s doing something you love or just taking a moment to relax, prioritize your self-care and self-soothing to help you handle your emotions better. You can also try positive affirmations and positive self-talk — saying things like “I’m confident” or “I’m worthy” — to empower yourself and cultivate more self-love and self-compassion. So go ahead and indulge in activities that make you feel good and give yourself the validation you deserve.

Remember, self-validation is a journey, not a destination. It takes time and practice to break free from seeking external validation, so be patient with yourself. Just know that you have the power to recognize and celebrate your own worth. As Maya Angelou once said, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” 

Now, here’s a question to ponder: What would your life look like if you fully embraced and celebrated your own worth, without seeking validation from others? We’d love to hear your insights in the comments down below!

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