Do we seek validation by asking other people questions like, “How do I look in these jeans?” Or, “What should I do?” In today’s article, we’ll discuss why we seek validation from others, and alternatives that allow us to feel better and reach our higher potential.
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What is validation?
Although some of us may already know, here’s a little external validation from MerriamWebster.com. Validation is a tool to determine the degree to which something is true. Said more simply, when we doubt whether something is true, we may seek a tool, such as someone else’s opinion, to tell us whether or not something is actually true.
Why do we seek others to validate truth?
The trouble with seeking validation outside of ourself is that the other person may not know or be honest about what’s true. Instead, statements may simply be opinions, stated to suit that person’s purpose. For example, if I ask the question, “How do I look in these jeans?” what I look like is not a fact, it is an opinion, and I’m pretty sure it will vary from person to person. So, whose answer is true? All answers are true in some way, to the person speaking. However, why would I accept someone else’s opinion as my truth?
If we live in uncertainty of our true value, we seek validation from others.
When we don’t know our real, deeper value as a being, we may rely on the opinions of others (also called “likes” on social media, “atta-boys and girls” at work, and attention at home) to validate our superficial, egoic value. This is an attempt to momentarily appease our need to feel accepted and important.
Certainty in ourself and life, does not come from other people.
If our certainty came from other people, then no matter what was happening in our world, the fact that some other people have found certainty, unification, differentiation, and bliss, would mean that we all could, or already do at some level. No, each of us, individually, is responsible for finding our own truth and certainty, at a level where it cannot be disturbed. No one else can do this for us.
Certainty and validation are within our true value and intuitive guidance.
On the deepest level, our true value and intuitive guidance are one. This is the unchanging reality referenced by the saints, saviors, buddhas, yogis, and masters of the ages that is both validation and certainty.
Is it possible to be certain within ourself (and not seek external validation)?
Yes. In my experience, intuition and true certainty can rarely, if ever, be validated by another person. To the contrary, intuitive guidance is often rebuked or scorned by those who fear it or seek control. I have been told that the intuitive guidance I’ve received was wrong, crazy, wild, and ridiculous, until later, when the same people received physical validation of its truth. The difference between me and those folks is that I do not wait to receive a physical demonstration, also known as “physical proof,” in order to be certain that the intuitive guidance I receive is true. And my connection and knowingness of that truth is certain and validating.
Will we choose validation from others or sanctification within?
There’s a word for being assured, or certain of our truth. It’s called sanctification. To call on Merriam Webster once again, the word sanctification means, “declaring something holy, purified, or morally right or acceptable.” When we are sanctified, we know what is true in our heart and mind, and we do not look to the opinions or truths of others to validate our knowing. With that said…
Why might we seek external validation over sanctification?
Below are five reasons, of a long list of potential reasons, why we might choose to seek external validation over inner sanctification.
- We’re afraid of being wrong. We may have been raised to believe that we need to ask an authority figure, also known as “someone else,” to learn what is true. If we’ve done this our whole life, we may be afraid to upset our own apple cart of assurance that other people know what’s true.
- We’re afraid of being an outcast. Do we want to fit in with other people who also seek validation from others? If so, we may be afraid to stand up for our inner truth, for fear that these people will no longer like us, or will withhold their attention and affection.
- We’re afraid of not getting what we want. We shape ourself around receiving validation from others.
- We may be afraid of being right! If our intuitive guidance IS correct, and we are right in following it, we also may need to CHANGE! Which leads us to our last of potentially many reasons why we might seek validation from others over sanctification and certainty within ourself.
- We’re afraid of change, so we allow the validation of others to limit us into staying the same.
Will we continue to invite uncertainty?
If we can relate to any of those five reasons, or another reason we discovered as we listened, it can lead to feeling dependent, resentful, or unhappy—not satisfied and “OK” by ourself. External validation may have been the only life we’ve known, and it may seem like the only way life can be. If we relate to the idea that uncertainty and validation-seeking is the norm, then here are some reasons we might consider inner validation and sanctification as an alternative.
What are the results of seeking validation?
I’ll share with you some physical, fact-like validation from a medical doctor on a psychological website, and then share my inner conviction and experience about the negative results of seeking external validation.
As shown in an article on the American Psychology Association website, written by Ilene Strauss Cohen, Ph.D., on July 13, 2018,
When others’ acceptance of you impacts how you make decisions about where to spend your time, you lose awareness of what’s important to you, what drives you, and what makes you happy. You might feel stuck doing work you don’t particularly enjoy and continue habits that are counterproductive. If this feels true for you, it’s time to focus your energy on getting in touch with what really matters to you. When you live in line with what you value, your life becomes much simpler and more effortless.
As listed on WebMD, an absence of validation (from others) can zap a patient’s motivation to move forward in a positive direction.
Also on WebMD, validation-seeking can develop into histrionic personality disorder. In these cases,
self-esteem depends on the approval of others and does not arise from a true feeling of self-worth. They have an overwhelming desire to be noticed, and often behave dramatically or inappropriately to get attention. The word histrionic means “dramatic or theatrical.”
And a variety of sources note that seeking external validation can lead to anxious behaviors, inconsistent breathing, digestive and colon issues, headaches, and depression.
Is it possible to validate one’s self?
It has been my experience that with practice, it is possible to validate myself. In the beginning it can be challenging, since seeking validation is a habit that needs to be broken just like any other addiction. And that’s the way we need to treat it, like a bad habit that numbs our intuitive guidance and leaves us seeking people to prop up our essential well-being.
What’s increased my certainty, peace, and confidence in my inner guidance and truth is a whole lot of practice, failures, and experiences. I’ll share my most recent experience in my journey to self-validation.
On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, I was in a recorded phone call (available to hear on the YouTube Show and corresponding podcast), during which I expressed my physical and emotional discomfort—leading up to saying that I felt an effervescent type of irritation “bubbling up” under my skin like a low-grade anxiety, but physical… as if I knew “something was coming, impending, like an earthquake.” During the night of Monday, August 30, 2021, I was awakened from sleep by the feeling of being shaken. “Holy cow, there it is, the earthquake,” I said to myself. I had not sought verbal or physical validation from the person with whom I was speaking, but the validation was received. A few days later, out of curiosity, I looked up the records of earthquakes in my area. Sure enough, the one I felt on August 30th was listed. At 11:56 p.m. EST. there was a 2.4 magnitude earthquake 7 kilometers from my city. Interestingly, it was only reported by five people. I wondered if I was the only one who intuitively “knew” that this earthquake was coming, or if there were others who sensed this as well.
Intuitive truth and inner validation are vital to our survival and ability to thrive.
As we might imagine, my intuitive sensing and perception, although unsettling, can be extremely valuable as an informant of surroundings and what is vital and important to health and safety. Which is why it’s so important that I share this information with you, and encourage you to develop this connection and sense within yourself. And, do not seek validation from anyone, because most people simply cannot sense these things, since they are consumed with trying to intellectually understand them. Which does not work.
Animals echo our own intuitive abilities.
A nature reference that echoes each of our intuitive, non-intellectual ability to sense truths like the earthquake, is listed in an article in National Geographic magazine, written by Maryann Mott and published on January 4, 2005. “Wildlife experts believe animals‘ more acute hearing and other senses might enable them to hear or feel the Earth’s vibration, tipping them off to approaching disaster long before humans realize what’s going on. Before giant tsunami waves slammed into Sri Lanka and India coastlines ten days before, wild and domestic animals seemed to know what was about to happen and fled to safety. According to eyewitness accounts, the following events happened: elephants screamed and ran for higher ground, dogs refused to go outdoors, flamingos abandoned their low-lying breeding areas, and zoo animals rushed into their shelters and could not be enticed to come back out. The belief that wild and domestic animals possess a sixth sense—and know in advance when the earth is going to shake—has been around for centuries.”
What can we do to validate ourself?
First, we can recognize that we have the same ability to connect and intuit information as the animals, though it may not have been used. Here are nine tips to “polish up” and increase inner validation. The first three tips are from an article in Psychology Today and the last six are from my personal experience.
- Tip #1 See success as a measure of doing what matters to us. Success is not about doing what others expect.
- Tip #2 Make decisions based on what’s right for us. When we make conscious choices about how to allocate our time, we create our OWN life.
- Tip #3 Learn what we value. Greater clarity may be gained by getting curious and asking ourself questions.
- Tip #4 Ask ourself, “How do I feel?” And then take time to listen, and write it down if you find it helps.
- Tip #5 Ask ourself, “What do I need?”
- Tip #6 Ask ourself, “What do I want?”
- Tip #7 Value OUR truth and reality. Accept the answers to the previous questions, and any intuitive guidance we receive is our deepest truth and what’s real for us. Then make all other choices accordingly. For example, if I ask myself how I feel and my answer is “exhausted,” and I ask myself what I need and the answer is “sleep,” and I ask myself what I want and the answer is to “cancel plans so I can go to bed,” then I can choose to do that and make it my reality.
- Tip #8 Make haters invisible. We can treat ourself lovingly by respecting our truth, and also treat others lovingly by allowing and not interfering with their choice to differ from our opinion. If they are not for us, they are against us, and it’s best to know and accept this, and keep it movin,’ so to speak.
- Tip #9 Know our worth and act on it. We can learn to include ourself, and what’s real and true to us, in our vision of life and in our individual decisions.
By choosing to validate ourself by means of what’s real to us—over seeking validation from others, we build our willpower to deepen our connection to intuition and truth.
Each and every time we choose to not seek external validation, and instead, choose what makes us feel connected to intuition and our personal truth, we build our confidence and willpower. Each of us have the free will to choose what we focus upon. In the past, our willpower muscles may have been inadvertently used to focus on getting validated by others. If we feel ourself slipping into that old habit and we don’t like it anymore, we can gently, calmly, and kindly say to ourself, “I focus on the truth that I am worthy and ok, regardless of what anyone else says.” “I focus on my deeper feelings, needs, and wants,” or, “I focus on intuitive guidance now.” As we seek this new focus, we shall also find connection and intuition.
What say ye?
Will you validate yourself? Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section, so we may grow in strength and willpower together …
Always with love,
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