If human beings were independent, it wouldn’t matter if other people validated them or not. They would be their own island and they would be able to give themselves all the validation they needed.
But as human beings are interdependent, it means that they need to be validated by others. This is not to say that someone can’t validate themselves, what it means is that other people are just as important.
So this means that one has to balance their need for validation from others, with the validation that they can provide for themselves. One side is therefore no more important than the other.
If one was to constantly look towards others, they are going to end up having no control over how they feel. And at the same time, if one was not receiving any kind of external validation from others, their wellbeing is going to be affected.
There is only so much other people can do to make one feel good, and there is only so much one can do for themselves.
When one is completely dependent on the validation that other people give them, they are unlikely to experience any kind of emotional stability. One moment they could be up and the next moment they could be down.
If one looks a certain way, or if they are successful or famous, it might enable them to receive more validation than people who are not perceived as attractive, or who are not successful or famous. But this doesn’t mean they will always receive the validation they want from others.
And all the time is one focused on gaining validation from other people, they are going to end up losing touch with who they are and what truly matters to them. It could even become an addiction and something that becomes out of control.
The Other Extreme
One could realise that seeking validation from others is unhealthy, and end up going to the other extreme. And while this is not necessarily any better, it can seem like the right thing to do.
So one then ends up trying to live a life where they don’t need anyone’s validation and if they do, they could end up feeling guilty and/or weak. The reason they feel this way can be due to the beliefs they have formed around validation.
And these beliefs will be a consequence of what they have learnt from others. It is not uncommon for people to say that one should not seek validation from anyone, and how this need needs to be completely removed.
Now, if human beings were independent, it wouldn’t matter if one removed the need to be validated by others. This would be normal and wouldn’t lead to any problems. But the fact of the matter is that we all need to be validated by others.
To go against this need is going to cause more harm than good. However, what is important here is that one looks in the right places. There will be some people who can give one the validation they need and some who can’t.
The people who are going to be able to give one the validation they need on a consistent basis are likely to be their friends, family and their partner for instance. At times, this will include the people they don’t know, but they won’t be attached to it.
And when it comes to the people who one does open up to, it is going to be through choice. It is then not something they have no control over, it is something they have chosen. The reason they have chosen to open up to these people is because they are people they trust.
They are there to support them and not to bring them down or limit their life. And when one has these people in their life who validate them, the need to be validated by strangers is going to lessen.
The validation that one receives from these people will also be backed up by the validation they give to themselves. However, in order for someone to have the ability to validate themselves, they will have needed someone else to validate them at some point in their life.
If they didn’t have this ability, they would also have a higher need to experience it from others. So it is not they have are inherently different to people who seek validation form everyone, it is just they have received something they haven’t.
One could have come to feel self validated as a result of what has happened in their adult years or what took place in their childhood. But if one was not validated as a child, they can end up looking towards other people to fulfil their needs that were not met during these years.
And if one didn’t get the validation they need from their caregivers growing up, it is to be expected that they would unconsciously look towards other people to validate them as an adult. Years may have passed, but the need to be validated for who they are won’t just disappear.
This is why a healer or a therapist can be so important. They can give one the validation they didn’t get as a child and as this happens, one will gradually feel self validated. And as a result of this, they will no longer need to be validated by everyone they meet or have a tendency to look in all the wrong places for it.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.