Do You Validate?
The Importance of Self-Validation
The real question should be: Do you need validation? We all know friends or family members whose total happiness and purpose is gaged on the validation of others -- and in some instances one specific person. Have you met "that girl" who gives Eeyore of Winnie the Pooh fame a run for his money? Come on, you know her: the girl who is perpetually gloomy, always needing a pep talk, wears her insecurities like a badge of honor, and ends up crying at the end of a girl's night out because she knows she'll NEVER find "the one." But then, out of the blue, she'll phone you, bursting with excitement and a zest for life that she can't contain. Did she get therapy? The perfect job? Win the lottery? Uh, no.
She met a man. He completes her. He makes her feel Beautiful. And Smart. And Needed. And Inspired. She has figured out in the 48 hours that they've been together that he's the one she's been waiting for her entire life. For the next few weeks, she's all smiles, completely aglow, starting each sentence with, "HE says...," "HE does...," "HE likes." (Carrying a barf bag is recommended during this phase). Immediately, she'll take better care of herself, laugh more, and post daily positive status updates on her Facebook about how much she loves life. With the exception of talking about HIM with every other breath, she's fabulous.
A few weeks later, the inevitable happens, and you'll get a desperate text or call that it's over. You "ta-ta" for a moment, then suggest a girl's night out to help get over the latest disaster, and so the cycle begins again. Less laughing, more "poor me's," and the self-esteem locked up in a box at the top of her closet...until she meets the next "one."
What women like this don't seem to understand is that these "feelings" that the men give them, the ones of being smart, beautiful, inspired, etc., are coming from within themselves, and this guy is simply the catalyst to bring them to the surface. Think of it this way: You couldn't feel like a nuclear physicist or an accomplished pianist if you'd never had the training. Nobody could make you believe you had a generous spirit unless a part of you already knew you did. Some people have a tendency to cling to others who give them compliments and only believe they are worthy because "he" says so. Why do these women only want to focus on the negative in themselves unless some random guy says otherwise? Don't they realize that all of the joy and zest for life is not something that is given to them, but rather something they already inherently own?
If you are one of these people (male or female) who fits into this uncomfortable mold, there are some important things you can do to begin to raise your self esteem, and learn to bring out these feelings on your own, instead of depending on anyone else to do it for you:
Tell Yourself Everyday that You are Valuable (or beautiful, smart, motivated, etc):
Leave yourself a note on the bathroom mirror; send yourself an email, say it out loud: "I am valuable!" If you hear something enough times; chances are you're going to start to believe it, and that's the ultimate goal: Believing in yourself and not depending on anyone else to "complete" you.
Don't Take Other People's Opinions of you as Gospel:
People's opinions are just that -- their opinions, and good or bad, it can't define you. "Joe" might believe in reincarnation, love brussels sprouts, think people with tattoos are trashy, yet he says that you are intelligent. Perhaps you can't wrap your mind around reincarnation; your best friends all have tattoos, and you think brussel sprouts are disgusting. But hey, Joe says you're smart. Do you take stock in everything he says now? Do you change your way of thinking on brussel sprouts and tattoos as well? On the flip side, just because someone shares many of the same interests as you, but says something negative about you doesn't make that person right. Think of other people's opinions as good or bad displays of taste that you can choose to agree with or disregard, not iron-clad testimony.
Focus on your Truths:
Everyone is good at something, whether it be cooking, listening, singing, dancing, having a strong work ethic, taking care of others -- the list goes on and on. Think about three things that pop into your head when you ask yourself: What are my own strengths? Think about personality traits or skills that you would defend if challenged. For example, if you know you're a good listener, then nobody can make you believe otherwise, no matter what they say. Keep your internal list short at first, but focus on it daily. Remind yourself of these positive truths, and before you know it, it will start to build on its own.
Surround Yourself with Positive Influences:
This sounds easy, but sometimes breaking away from negativity is no easy feat. Many people with low self-esteem or little self-respect have earned that from their childhood surroundings. If the people and situations in your life are bringing you down, then walk away. No, it's not easy, but it can be done. This is not to say to cut all ties with family members who are contrary, but instead to limit your time with them. Every time you eliminate something negative, you make room for a positive. Seek out your friends and family members who are confident and well-adjusted so you can spend your time in a more productive environment.
Believing in yourself. Respecting yourself. Validating yourself. These concepts are foreign to some, but with time and focus, it can be achieved. Like Glinda told Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, "You had the power in you all along, dear."