Validation: Why You Don’t Need It From Other People, And How To Stop The Desperate Search For It
No one knows your story more than you do. People honestly have no reason or right to decide how you should live your life, especially when they have not walked in your shoes. You shouldn’t seek validation from people. Whether or not they approve of your decisions is their issue, not yours.
Seeking for validation from other people
“Validation is the recognition and acceptance of another person’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors as understandable,” said Dr. Karyn Hall, Director of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Centre, Houston, Texas. 
While it’s not wrong to ask other people for their opinions, it becomes a problem when that supersedes even yours. It’s much worse when you somehow place their approval above all else.
You can validate yourself and your decisions. This is known as ‘self-validation’. Accepting yourself is the highest and purest form of validation, yet is it is the hardest one out there. When this form of self-approval is not valued, the person in question then resorts to getting it from external sources.
It goes beyond seeking the approval of those close to the person to a desperate need for acceptance. This could be in the form of a constant need for positive affirmation from ‘friends’ on social media to the craving of an increased number of likes and thumbs up on various social media platforms.
This burning need – if not met, can lead to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Even when they do get this acceptance, they become addicted to it. Every praise, ‘like’, compliment, becomes as important as oxygen to them and causes them to have some sort of a nervous breakdown if they don’t get it. 
Also, several people suffer from ‘social anxiety’ at least at some point in their lives. One major reason for this is a crippling fear of being judged by other people. In the United States alone, 7% of the population suffers from this condition. This has led to Social Anxiety Disorder being regarded as the third largest psychological disease in the US. 
Do not be in denial of the fact that you need other people’s approval to exist or feel ‘validated’
If you doubt that you truly do, here are a few examples of approval-seeking behaviors you might be exhibiting, consciously or unconsciously
- Backing down without a fight when your opinion is dismissed
- Changing your stand because someone else disagrees with it
- Lying or being dishonest just to impress someone
- Becoming distressed when someone doesn’t agree with you
- Agreeing with someone even when you have no reason to
- Displeasing yourself to please others
- Keeping quiet when you are mistreated as opposed to complaining about it
- Not being true to yourself and doing things that are not in line with your beliefs just so you can gain someone else’s approval.
This is by no means a conclusive list of all the behaviors one could exhibit when they are obsessed with other people’s approval. Nevertheless, it should give you a clue about what it means to be one of such people and possibly help you figure out if you are one.
Here are 7 reasons why it’s not worth the stress of needing people to like and accept you
1.Everyone is not going to like you
This is regardless of what you do to please them. Your efforts aren’t going to cut it and will never impress them. This could be because of some preconceived notion or first impression they have of you, or even just a result of their nature. Whatever the reason, it’s not on you and you need to stop working so hard to get them to like you.
2. Whether or not people like you doesn’t determine your self-worth
And it sure as heck doesn’t make your opinion any less valid than theirs. If you know your worth, no one can ever bring you down by refusing to “acknowledge” you.
3. You affect yourself emotionally
That is if you give people the chance to tamper with your emotional energy. When you work hard repeatedly just to impress them but keep falling short of their so-called validation, eventually you will realize how much of a waste of energy that is.
4. Your life becomes so much easier when you start being more authentic
You begin to live for ‘you’. And you never have to displease yourself to please anyone just because you want them to like you or approve of you. 
5. No matter what you do, people who don’t like you won’t approve of you
You will never measure up to their standards or meet their expectations, so why give them that much power over you? Live your life according to your truth and watch yourself grow into the best version of you possible.
6. It’s not your responsibility to please other people
Your life will be much simpler when you make peace with the fact that you must make yourself happy. If people are not okay with what you do and decide to ‘hold back their approval’, then it’s their loss anyway.
7. The freedom you get
It’s incredibly liberating when you live your life according to your truth. Not worrying about what other people think gives you an incredible sense of freedom and happiness.
Knowing the reasons why you should stop seeking approval from others is the first step in the process of ‘freeing yourself from the shackles of social validation’. The next thing is the actual process of breaking free.
Below are 8 ways you can stop being obsessed with getting other people’s approval
1.Be honest with yourself
Before you do something, ask yourself what the reasons you are doing it for are. If at the end of the day, the only reason you have is for someone else’s benefit and to your detriment, then you should reconsider.
2. Do not be a yes man
It truly is alright to say no, especially when you feel a bit slammed with everything you have to do. Take time to think about whether or not you can take on that ‘project’, if not, then be sure to decline.
3. Do right by you
If what you intend to do would go against your morals, then you shouldn’t be doing it. For the sake of your sanity, do things that make you feel good about yourself regardless of how others feel about it. 
4. Work on your self-esteem
Try to develop a higher sense of self-esteem. Take a page from actor and playwright, Harvey Feirstein who said, “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” 
If you believe in that and practice it, then you won’t have any room to seek other people’s approval.
5. Trust and listen to yourself
Trusting yourself on ‘paper’ is not the same thing as actually listening to yourself. However, you need to do both things to stop needing other people so much. If you don’t trust yourself, then there is nothing to listen to because you can’t give what you don’t have.
6. Accept yourself for who you are
According to author, Nick Sheff on his memoir, ‘Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamine’, “As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are – what others say is irrelevant.”
That said, you need to truly make peace with yourself and live your life to the fullest. Any other thing will be tantamount to you living a false life for the benefits of others.
7. Stop comparing yourself to other people
You are a unique individual and there’s no one, neither will there ever been someone who will be exactly like you. Everyone’s path is different. If you must compare yourself to another person, then be sure to take it with a grain of salt. There’s a lot of fake people out there, especially on social media, so be sure to take anything you see there under advisory.
8. Take a break from social media
A sabbatical if you will. There are numerous untrue things on there and these might influence you negatively. Also, the need for likes and comments will eventually send you on a downward spiral. Take a break from it all and work on making yourself happy.
This isn’t going to be an easy task because you probably started out seeking approval for a reason. Also, you might have been a might have been doing it for so long that you don’t know what you truly desire without other people telling you.
However, it will be disastrous in the long run if you continue like that. Keep in mind that you always have a choice to make in any situation.
Good luck as you begin your journey to self-validation.
- “Understanding Validation: A Way to Communicate Acceptance.” Psychology Today. Karyn Hall. Accessed February 28, 2020.
- “Stop Seeking Validation from Others.” Psychology Today. Sherry Gaba. Accessed February 28, 2020.
- “What is Social Anxiety?” Social Anxiety Institute. Thomas Richards. Accessed February 28, 2020.
- “5 Reasons to Stop Seeking Acceptance From People Who Are Committed to Not Accepting You.” HuffPost. Sherrie Campbell. Accessed February 28, 2020.
- “How to Let Go of the Need for Approval.” Psychology Today. Ilene Strauss Cohen. Accessed February 28, 2020.
- “Harvey Fierstein.” Brainy Quote. Admin. Accessed February 28, 2020.