Self Validation – Learning the Most Powerful Source of You

We often seek feedback from others on our hard work and accomplishments, because we deserve it after all.  However, sometimes that feedback isn’t there, but we have to go on.  We’re going to discuss self-validation as the key to recognizing ourselves and our own achievements.

Self-validation is a valuable tool for anyone to provide positive feedback and support to themselves. This is a core to living a positive lifestyle, and can be done through self-talk, meditation, rewards, journaling, and experiencing. Self-validation is helpful in a minimalist and simple life.

Do you thrive off of positive feedback from others and feel terrible when you’re not recognized?  Would you like to learn how to decrease that need for positive reinforcement from others?

What Is Self-Validation?

To begin with, let’s discuss external validation, which is the opposite of self-validation.  External validation is that which you get from others, when you’ve accomplished something or done something well.  It brings us joy, happiness, and the need to do more because we feed off of this positive reinforcement.

Guy taking a selfie - Self validation - Gone Minimal
Guy taking a selfie

Self-validation is recognizing your own worth, value, and legitimacy.  It also refers to confirmation and establishment of the same.  It’s the act of accepting and feeling good about your own accomplishments, rather than seeking out validation from others.

Self-validation comes from within and develops from our experiences with acceptance and understanding. It’s how we learn to see and trust ourselves in conjunction with the world around us. Self-validation develops from an individual’s unique life journey and is molded by the people and things surrounding them.

What Does It Mean to Seek Validation?

When we seek validation, we look to others (boss, spouse, parents, friends, etc.) to recognize that we have done a job well.  We expect them to tell us we’ve done a good job, met or exceeded expectations, and have great abilities. 

Sometimes we do this to an extent that is unhealthy and codependent.  This is usually because we need to feel recognized by others or we end up doubting our own abilities.  How can we prevent this from occurring?  We learn how to validate ourselves.

Why do we seek validation from others?  Several reasons:

  • You’ve done something new and you want to know if you’ve done well.
  • You’re working hard and helping others, but haven’t heard anything regarding your performance.
  • You’ve accomplished something momentous and desire recognition.
  • You’ve gone above and beyond expectations and feel like you deserve something in return.

It’s difficult at times to keep going in challenging situations when you don’t get that validation or that feedback from others.  You want to know if you’re doing the right thing, if you’re meeting expectations, if there’s anything you’re missing and need to do better.  Guess what?  We’ve all been there!  We can communicate those needs with others (especially our managers and supervisors) AND we can validate ourselves.

How Do You Validate Yourself?

We can’t always depend on others to provide us with the feedback we desire.  In order to prevent stress, and lack of self-confidence, it’s helpful to learn and use self-validation.  We can do this by thinking positively about ourselves, especially when we succeed at something.  Congratulating ourselves, feeling proud of oneself, and validating our feelings and accomplishments are excellent self-validations.

On the other hand, if we don’t do well and are unsuccessful, we must still self-validate to maintain our self-esteem and self-worth.  It’s normal to feel like you didn’t do well, but remind yourself you did your best.  Other people’s opinions do not define you or your self-worth. 

They make mistakes as well-and you’re not defined by your failures.  Using these affirmations will keep you grounded and centered, plus help you build your self-esteem when things don’t go as planned.

Here is an insightful video on the influence and benefits of self-acceptance:

Helpful Examples of Self-Validation

There are many ways we can validate ourselves and be less dependent upon feedback from others.  Here are some examples you can use to start developing your own skills:

  • Self-encouragement
  • Be nice to yourself
  • Say nice things about yourself
  • Pay attention to your feelings and accept them
  • Acknowledge your own successes, progress, and strengths
  • Acknowledge and accept your own flaws, mistakes, and limitations
  • Love yourself

When working on developing self-validation, there are several things you need to avoid doing:

  • Don’t self-criticize
  • Don’t compare yourself to others
  • Don’t deny your needs
  • Don’t be a perfectionist
  • Don’t judge yourself too harshly

We’re all human and we all have feelings.  These feelings should be recognized, although they’re not always warranted.  This just means that if we perceive negative emotions within ourselves, it does not mean that others feel the same way about you. 

If we can be nice to ourselves, not only will it help strengthen our self-validation, it can help us provide the validation someone else may need.  Niceness also helps switch an attitude as well as an outlook from a negative to a positive!

It’s beneficial to recognize your own job well done as well as feeling good about yourself.

How To Stop Needing External Validation

We can take the time to learn self-validation, but we also must work on decreasing our need for external validation.  It can become unhealthy needing this validation after a certain point, such as when one makes a mistake or doesn’t meet expectations after being a high achiever for a period of time.

This can lead to a loss of external validation and loss of identity.  This dependence upon validation can be very damaging, so let’s look at some ways to decrease and even stop needing external validation:

  • Learn and grow your self-validation skills
  • Turn your mental recall of a situation from negative to positive
  • Don’t use social media for validation (likes, comments, shares, etc.)
  • Take a break from social media
  • Reflect on your progress as you go through this journey
  • Focus on your own strengths, values, and talents
  • Develop your self-awareness
  • Reward yourself

This will be a continuous process-and yes, there may be setbacks.  Just keep in mind that it’s not a quick fix or an overnight deal.  But with time you will become more positive, more understanding, and you will discover more about who you are each day.  It will get easier over time.  Keep it up!

A monkey looking at its reflection in a mirror - Self Validation - Gone Minimal
A monkey looking at its reflection in a mirror

Examples of Self-Validation – From Real People

I asked 5 family/friends what top 4 ways they would consider to self-validate, and use in their day-to-day lives. Here is what I learned and what they shared:

Type of Self-Validation# of People
Treat myself (ice cream, chocolate, shopping, etc.)5
Share my accomplishments (social media)2
Journal (feelings, accomplishments, failures, etc.)3
Say/think positive things to myself3
Look in the mirror and accept myself2
Congratulate myself for meeting goals3
Accept my flaws and the things that make me different2
Acknowledge my feelings and focus on the positives2
Stop comparing myself to others3
Focus on my dreams2
Stop judging myself2

Other Resources:

Learning self-validation is not a difficult task, it only takes practice and a bit of time.  It’s switching your mindset from external to internal, and negative to positive that can be challenging.  If you’ve ever found yourself feeling down because of lack of recognition, it’s a good idea to start looking within.  You do have talent, strengths, values and accomplishments that should be recognized and rewarded-by YOU!

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