Seeking validation from others is a common behavior, but it can be detrimental to your sense of self-worth and happiness. Often one’s desire to seek out validation from others is influenced by their self-worth. When a person believes their value is based on how much they are loved, approved of, or accepted by others, they will continuously seek out signs of approval.
When a person relies too heavily on this external form of validation, there is often an internal struggle. For example, questioning whether it is better to do things that make others happy or pursue their own interests.
One way I support my clients in decreasing their need to seek validation from others is to get clear on their unique values. By writing down what is most important to them, they gain clarity on whether their life choices are aligned with their values versus what is being influenced by other’s opinions or expectations.
This becomes their guide in making big and small changes in the future. Changes that foster greater self-worth and trust.
Here are some additional strategies that can help you reduce the need for external validation:
- Build self-awareness: Reflect on your thoughts and behaviors to understand why you seek validation. Recognize the patterns and triggers that lead you to seek external approval.
- Develop self-confidence: Focus on building your self-confidence by acknowledging your strengths, accomplishments, and unique qualities. Set achievable goals and celebrate your successes, no matter how small.
- Practice self-compassion: Be kind and understanding toward yourself. Treat yourself with the same empathy and care that you would extend to a friend. Embrace self-compassion as a way to nurture a positive and healthy self-image.
- Set healthy boundaries: Establish clear boundaries in your relationships to prevent others from having a significant influence on your self-worth. Learn to assert your needs and prioritize your well-being.
- Focus on internal validation: Rely on your own values, beliefs, and intrinsic motivations to guide your actions and decisions. Trust your intuition and inner voice, and prioritize your own feelings and needs over external opinions.
- Cultivate a support system: Surround yourself with people who genuinely support and encourage you. Seek out relationships that are built on mutual respect, trust, and acceptance, rather than ones that solely revolve around seeking validation.
- Practice self-care: Engage in activities that promote self-care and well-being. Take care of your physical, emotional, and mental health through practices such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, and spending time in nature.
- Challenge negative beliefs: Challenge any negative beliefs or self-doubt that contribute to your need for external validation. Replace these thoughts with positive affirmations and constructive self-talk to build a healthier and more positive self-image.
- Embrace authenticity: Embrace your true self and express your thoughts, feelings, and opinions authentically. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and genuine, rather than trying to conform to external expectations.
- Seek professional support: If you find it challenging to break the pattern of seeking validation, consider seeking guidance from a therapist or counselor. Professional support can provide you with valuable tools and techniques to enhance your self-esteem and reduce the need for external validation.
Remember that the journey to self-acceptance and inner validation takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and celebrate each step you take towards a healthier and more confident sense of self.
If you would like to learn more about working with an Evolve clinician, reach out to us today!