Learn how to self-validate in 6 ways
As unfair as it sounds, we all have that one person whose validation can change the course of our confidence, thoughts, beliefs – basically our life. Why unfair you ask? Think about the amount of control this someone has in our day-to-day life! If this said person doesn't support us, we easily question our self and easily lose faith and confidence. Having said that it’s natural and normal to want this external validation. The reason I say it’s unfair because sometimes it shakes and crumbles the very foundation that make us special and different from one another.
I remember talking to a client who had a brilliant idea about this business she wanted to start, she had this impressive plan and all she needed to do was get started. But no one in her immediate circle of known and loved ones felt that way. She was heartbroken and cried. She wanted to quit her job and become a painter. She was very talented and the way she felt about painting made her face glow and her eyes sparkled. But having no validation she not only dismissed her idea but called it “impossible and stupid”
She wallowed for a while. The next time we met she couldn’t shake that idea away. She kept asking, “how can I convince them that this idea is great and will work?” The truth was, it wasn’t about them and that’s what I told her. I asked her to think and list of all the reason she should get started that had nothing to do with the people who didn’t support her idea. If she could muster a few good reasons there was still a chance she could do it. Get started on her dream. She did!
Now my part was to convince her to her own self that this idea was great and it could work.
It wasn’t that tough but required a lot of work.
Here are a few ways in which she tried to find that validation she so badly was seeking, but from her own self this time…
Focus on strengths – We all have innate strengths we are born with and through our genes and some that we acquire overtime due to experience and practice. But not necessarily two people share the same strengths in the same capacity. Making this method so effective. Having the awareness of your strengths can help you overcome massive hurdles. Therefore, the first thing was to list down all the possible strengths she could think of. We had an amazing list and it surprised her too.
Praise and compliment – Sometimes we tend to overlook the power of being complimented for the skills and talents we have. We try to deny it and justify it as ‘not quite good enough’ but in our hearts where no one can see, we smile and gloat. So naturally, we then discussed in all the ways and times she was complimented for her work, even if it wasn’t big, even if it was as simple as “nice” or “wow” – we noted everything down. I made her stick it on a place she could she everyday till she could believe it herself.
Change inner dialogue – Our mind is truly our worst enemy when it comes to self-belief and self-acceptance and instead of guiding us, it tends to mislead us. Instead of “Yes, you can do it” we often hear “who do you think you are to do it”. Instead of “It’s okay to fail, take the risk” we often hear “Don’t be a fool, play it safe”. And this annoying little voice has a profound impact on us. So, we drew up these annoying little voices and poured them on the paper at the same time changing the dialogue to something more compassionate. This was an on-going task for her, to keep jotting it down and changing it. But changing it wasn’t enough she also had to keep reciting it.
Acknowledge your negative feelings – Every time we feel a jolt of negativity, we suppress it thinking it’ll go away but all it truly does is hides and surfaces when you absolutely don’t need it, at the very worse time. It’s okay to accept and say it out loud, all that negativity you feel – Envy, jealousy, comparison, anger and more., in my opinion these feelings are a call to look within and question yourself of what they imply and mean to you. She always felt envious when other people did well in their journey and when she meditated on it, she realized it was her fear of being left behind. This gave us the opportunity to work on this fear.
Quiet time – Criticism is normal. Everyone has their own opinion. But yours is the only one that matters. It’s normal to get swept away in this criticism and react harshly but some alone time can help you gather your thoughts again. Self-remembrance about what is truly important. It doesn’t play a direct hand in self-validation but plays an important one nonetheless.
Focus on your progress – The true beauty of this is that only you know how to measure it. Only you need to know it and track it. Sometimes you may not have much to show for but, only you know all that you have gained from showing up, doing the work, reaching there. We discussed about the progress, going way back to base. We mapped the progress she had made not only in her craft but also her income and quality of her work. She realized even though it felt slow, she had made incredible improvements and learnt so much about the art.
Eventually she was able to get started, small but steady. She decided not to quit her job till she was 100% sure and started this as her side-business. She kept showing up, had more bad days and less good days. But she kept making incredible changes. And most importantly it was because she convinced her own self she could do it.
Of course my example was about someone's professional life but this is applicable just as easily in your personal life too. Whether it's your body type, skin colour, your hobbies, interests, choice of clothing,., just about anything that has to do with you.
External validation is also so important and sometime very much needed but the problem arises when this starts becoming a dependency and a way to people-please. By self-validation it no where implies that the people who couldn’t support you had bad intentions but perhaps their validation wasn’t required. Their approval wasn’t really needed.
I hope the next time you feel unsupported, this article will help you uplift yourself.
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