Do you often feel the need for constant validation? If yes, then know that you are not alone. Most of us want to be acknowledged, understood, and accepted. Even if life feels unfair and everything goes upside down, we like people to tell us that it will be okay. However, it is impossible to get all the validation you need from others. Receiving validation does not only motivate an individual but keeps them affirmed. However, do you not think it also makes us increasingly dependent on others?
Here is where the concept of “self-validation” jumps in. What is self-validation? It is the act of accepting and encouraging ourselves. When a person practices self-validation, they often seem to be more confident about their decisions. It raises one’s self-esteem and lowers the need to rely on others to make them feel good. Requiring validation from others leads us to doubt our abilities, thoughts, and judgment. It leads to a lack of self-trust and the belief that others know more and better than we do. Although, when you self-validate, it helps you trust your abilities and give importance to your thoughts and feelings. Both of which are essential qualities to lead a good life.
Life is different for all of us. It is vital to understand that every person has their fair share of bad and good days. While it is important to be there for other people and expect the same from them, you should know your worth. To live peacefully and happily, we must acknowledge ourselves before doing so for others. When you know how to validate yourself, only then will you be able to validate others. Want to learn more about how to self-validate? This article will introduce you to various ways you can do so.
1. Be aware of yourself
”Self-acceptance is truly a heroic act” – Nathaniel Branden.
The first step to working on yourself is to know who you are. Examine yourself and see how your thought process works. List down the things that give you happiness and the ones that irritate you. This practice would help you identify what you feel, where the problem lies, and what you can do to solve it. For instance, you feel lonely often. Try spending time with your loved ones and see if that makes a change. Accepting yourself does not always comes easy. Human beings are fallible, and there is usually room for improvement. Thus, analysing yourself helps give you a clearer picture and makes the process of self-validation easier.
2. Stop judging yourself
Know that it is okay to feel things. Feelings are transient and not permanent. These temporary opinions that you generate in your mind do not define you. Make yourself understand that feelings come and go, and it is okay to be open about them. Talk to yourself and declutter your thoughts until and unless you are not harming yourself or others; it is totally fine to give yourself the freedom to feel. Moreover, feelings surely are what make us whole, but they do not completely describe you. Even if you feel negative, tell yourself it is okay to feel that way at times. It is unrealistic to expect to remain optimistic all the time. There will be days when you do not feel constructive, and that is totally fine. Do not feel guilty about it, and just try to make yourself feel better. Additionally, it is crucial to realise the important difference between “I feel” and “I am”. This strategy would really help you change your perspective about yourself and your actions.
3. Ask yourself, “What do I need?”
No one can be there for you like you can be for yourself. As cliched as it sounds, you know yourself the best. If at any point you feel low or down, immediately question yourself, “What will make me feel better?”. Your brain will instantly shoot ideas, such as your favourite things to do. Take a walk to clear your head, take deep breaths to ease yourself, or sleep a while to feel better rested. This is the practical approach to validating yourself. It reminds you that you are important and anything that would make you feel better needs to be done. Making yourself feel better by being there for yourself is one of the golden ways to validate oneself.
4. Give yourself the credit you deserve
Strengths and weaknesses are part of human nature. It is important to be proud of how far you have come. Constantly remind yourself of the progress you have made. One unpleasant situation is not worthy of washing away all that you have done to stand where you are. Giving yourself some credit motivates you and helps you go even if you do not feel like it. You can credit yourself in many different ways. Get yourself a fresh haircut, go on a holiday by yourself, have a dinner date with yourself, or buy some new clothes. Similarly, note down your various strengths and constantly work on them. It is a great way to boost self-esteem and helps with stress management.
5. You are your best friend
When struck by a stressful event, we often feel the need to talk to a friend. At times it is important to analyse the situation on your own before seeking a second opinion. If you struggle to respond to your feelings, think of what you would say to a friend if they were in the same situation as you. Tell yourself what you would them, and it would feel just fine. At times, talking to yourself and reaffirming goes a long way. It is part of our nature to instantly search for validation from others without even consulting with ourselves. Becoming your best friend is exactly what you need at times. Self-validation is not an easy process. Cheering yourself up while struggling just like you would do for your friend will help you cope better. Not only that, it will become your habit to look for answers on your own before running for external validation. That’s what best friends are for, right?
6. Explicit reflection
Self-reflection is the best way to start self-validating. It is crucial to accept and acknowledge your internal state and label it explicitly. Doing this on your own helps you to be transparent about yourself. At times, we might feel guilty about our thoughts and actions while expressing them to others. Reflecting is also describing your mindfulness. The very events that trigger various emotions and how to cater to them. This is where you start associating reason with your internal experiences. Plus, it also allows you to be more present. You become aware of your emotions instead of suppressing them. Thus, it would not be wrong to say that the first level of self-validation is present. Listening to yourself without judgment and giving yourself the freedom to feel. This all together creates the perception that “you matter”. Moreover, it helps avoid negativity and builds resilience to face challenges.
7. Be transparent about your feelings
Understand that you are not being dramatic when you voice how you feel. People often avoid initiating difficult conversations. As humans are prey to constant verification of their acts, it is important to talk about how you really feel. In our disingenuous efforts to maintain peace and hide behind people-pleasing, we often neglect honesty. Self-validation not only means being brutally honest about how you feel about yourself but also about others. When you practice voicing exactly how you feel, it is easier to be true to yourself and others. There is no need to wear a mask and pretend that you agree with other people’s opinions just to feel guilty about it on your own. Not only can it disrupt your peace of mind, but it also threatens your relationships. When they say honesty is the best policy, they are right. It really is; once you start being transparent about your feelings, you will not build up unnecessary resentment and will begin to trust your own opinion more.
8. Start journaling
According to the research study of the University of Auckland, the expression of emotions concerning stressful or traumatic events can produce measurable effects on human immune responses. This tells us that journaling is not only a way to self-reflect but also healthy. Writing down what you feel helps you look at the bigger picture. Writing down your thoughts and feelings somewhere creates a soothing sensation in your mind. It feels as if you have lifted a burden off your chest. Human brain activity is sensitive, and loading it with so much information every day can take a toll on both your mental and physical health.
Moreover, journaling provides a great outlet as well as a way to self-validate. By creating a “me” section in your journal, you can keep track of your strengths. Appreciating yourself and identifying your weak areas too. Thus, it helps you be mindful and create a difference in your personality as required.
9. Celebrate your achievements
Validating yourself does not have to be only when faced with an unpleasant scenario. You may also associate your successes with this concept. Recognise your achievements and reward yourself for them. Tell yourself that what you have accomplished is huge and needs appreciation. Even if our win is a small one, give yourself credit where it is due. Celebrating the little things in life not only leads to gratitude but also helps us stay grounded. Also, it gives our self-esteem a boost and makes us more confident about the things we wish to achieve. Before expecting others to praise you, try doing it yourself, and you will see a big difference.
10. Practice, practice, practice!
Along with all the aforementioned acts to help you self-validate, it is important to learn that nothing comes easy. You need to remind yourself that practice is an essential part of learning self-validation. We have to be realistic about the fact that change does not occur overnight. List a few things down in your diary to say to yourself. Tell yourself it is normal to feel the way you do. Tell yourself that it is okay to cry and let it out. Acknowledge both your feelings and accomplishments to make progress. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Self-validation requires you to take care of yourself, on an ongoing basis. However, this does not mean not seeking help when you need it. It simply means that we do not exclusively rely on others to make us feel good. Learning how to validate yourself is a skill that will help you win in life. Moreover, it is also necessary for others to know how strong you are on your own. This makes them respect you as a person and trust you because of your confidence and self-resilience. “Your self-worth does not belong in the hands of other people”, says Ashley Hetherington. It is one life-changing quote to live by. To live with dignity, it is salient to know your worth and to respect yourself. Only then can you expect others to respect you and your opinion. Another way to do this is by surrounding yourself with positive people. The ones who have a positive outlook on life. Not only will it make you avoid self-sabotaging yourself but it also focus on praising life as it unfolds itself.
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