A need for validation, and where we get it from, is something that can hugely trip us up on our quest for a happier, more fulfilled life.
According to the dictionary the definition of validation when it comes to psychology is ‘recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile.’
So why is it hugely important to understand our own individual nuanced version of validation?
It’s inextricably tied into our view of ourselves. Our self esteem, our self worth.
And often all it takes is an awareness of it to understand that a lot of the ways we try to validate ourselves are ridiculous, and we’re missing some more ways that are far more important and create changes in other areas of our lives.
I often think back to why I started this podcast.
It became almost like my own little journal of self discovery and things I had learned through ‘doing the work’ myself and through years and years of study and training.
It made me a bit mad that nobody had told me this stuff before.
Until I realised, most people haven’t been told it themselves!
So I kind of went on a bit of a mission to help people understand themselves in all their glorious humanness.
It’s something that brings me immense joy to know.
It’s something that genuinely creates awe and wonder for me on a daily basis watching other people and witnessing my own thoughts and behaviours and changes and shifts I’ve been able to make in my own life and the lives of my clients.
It’s game changing stuff and far more simple than we make it.
I believe the world would be an unrecognisable place if people simply understood the way they worked as humans and had self awareness. If they understood on an intimate level what their own individual nuance was in their programming that made them think, feel and behave in the ways that they do.
Understanding validation and the ways in which we seek and try to create it for ourselves, and the ways we validate others, is a huge part of this.
We will all have had different experiences of the messaging that we’re given in society, through our culture, gender, when we grew up, income level, appearance and so much more around what makes you ‘valid and worthwhile’.
I just want to briefly remind you that you are ALWAYS valid and worthwhile no matter your background, upbringing or any of these things.
There’s only so much of this I can cover in one episode but I highly, highly suggest you grab your journal and dig into this.
When you start to unravel it all so much starts to change.
The way you see yourself, the way you see others, the way you start to see the world.
So what do you believe makes you valid and worthwhile?
Is it being in a relationship? Whether you’re married or have kids?
Is it your job title or income level?
Is it the number on the scales or the size of your clothes?
Is it being masculine or feminine?
Is it the friends you have and the circles you keep?
Is it your family?
Is it what you choose to eat?
Is it where you choose to go?
Is it true? Does it?
Does it make you a better or worse human?
Less worthy in any way at all?
Hopefully you’ll start to see what I’m getting at here.
Does any of it REALLY matter?
Does it really matter to YOU?
The trick is to start to seek INTERNAL validation.
The way you do that in my opinion is to start to analyse your thoughts and beliefs and really, truly figure out what YOU think and be open to that shifting.
Really understanding what you think is important and live by it as much as humanly possible.
You might have heard the saying before ‘your word is your bond’. I kind of like that in this instance.
If you consciously choose to live in the ways, and make choices according to what YOU believe makes someone a good person then your self esteem is going to skyrocket.
I’m not saying it will always be easy, particularly at first because you’re going against your protection mechanisms and ingrained neural pathways but I DO know that it’s 100% worth it any day of the week.
So what do YOU believe is the makeup of a good human being?
What qualities do they possess?
What does their life look like?
What are their thought processes?
What do they have? Would they be just as good of a valid and worthwhile human without it?
Look at what you want in your life and really dig into WHY you actually want it. Is it for external validation? Internal validation? You’re not really sure anymore?
What are you judging or not judging them for? (Easy place to start with this one is what do you already judge yourself and other people negatively for right now…what’s the opposite of that?)
This is such a simple but hugely valuable exercise to do.
Always flexing that self awareness muscle which gets you closer and closer every day to living the life you want to live and being the person you want to be.
But also, something worth mentioning that’s slightly different to what i’m talking about in this episode but still very important to mention when we’re talking about validation.
How are you validating or invalidating other people?
This is a huge part of healing too. Feeling understood and that you make sense and your feelings are valid.
There are so many ways that we do this to ourselves and others, toxic positivity is a great example of that.
Ways that we tell people they shouldn’t be, feel or think a certain way.(I’m obviously not talking about the extremes here, there are of course a lot of ways of being, thinking, feeling and doing that have no place in civilised society)I’m talking in general conversation. If someone’s opening up what do you say to them?
Do you tell them other people have it worse? Do you talk over them and go straight into fix mode and tell them what to do instead of just listening and letting them know it makes sense they’d feel that way?
As you go about your week I’d love for you to just notice with curiosity when you feel invalidated by someone or if you notice yourself doing it to someone else. Unfortunately it’s very very easily done and most of us do it often. It’s something we have to make a conscious effort to unlearn.
So, as a final reminder, you are a hugely valid, valuable and worthwhile human being. Wherever you’re at right now and however you may feel about yourself, your progress or where you’re telling yourself you should be.
I said to a new friend recently that I believe life is about constant growth and evolution for the better. Not from a place of not already being good enough but peeling back the layers of armour and protection that we’ve built around ourselves through our lifetimes to get back to being MORE of who you really are. Not someone different, who you’ve always been.
The reality is that often the opportunity to create that growth comes from some sort of pain or darkness, but it doesn’t have to.
We can choose to start looking for that incremental growth consciously whenever we choose to and feel ready to…and I think that’s kinda magical.
Fran Excell, Success Mindset Mentor at www.franexcell.com – Helping Business Owners & Executives Overcome Stress & Self Sabotage so they can get back their time, get off the emotional rollercoaster and feel more in control.
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