Accepting your internal experience can be difficult.
Ahh…validation. It’s like a checklist in your brain of feeling worthy, important and enough.
One of my biggest struggles in life currently is validation. I seek it out in basically everything, and I struggle most with finding it within myself. I base feeling valid solely off of how others feel about my opinions, appearance, and way I lead my life instead of on how I feel about myself.
It is pretty easy for me to feel invalidated since I seek approval from everywhere but within myself. When you can’t find self approval it’s very easy to constantly feel invalid and unappreciated because you will be very quick to believe anything anyone says about you – even the stuff that isn’t necessarily true or constructive.
When I was first thinking about writing an article on this topic, I decided that I wanted to share more than just my personal experiences. So, I decided to ask some women I trust if they would be willing to contribute their feelings as well! While all of the women I asked all had very different opinions and experience around validation, there was a common thread:
We have all felt invalidated, either by ourselves or by someone else.
One woman said that she has not always had self-validation. However, she has worked to find internal validation while not completely throwing away the idea of external validation. Instead, she uses the things others say as a “reality check.” She has learned to trust in herself and her feelings and opinions, but she considers what others say and sees if it checks out with her internal truth. If it does, then she accepts what they’ve said and uses it to improve herself. If it doesn’t, then she trusts that what she believes is completely true and valid and goes on with her life.
Another woman shared how she has always felt validated and that she has always felt like she has known that she was destined for wonderful things. However, she still does have times where she feels invalid. For her, feeling invalid means that she feels like isn’t contributing and making a difference or when she isn’t learning things quick enough. She said that specific people don’t make her feel invalid because she believes it’s her job on earth to spin the negatives into positives – what an awesome way to think!
The last woman I spoke to told me about a time where she felt invalidated at work. A leader made her feel like her skills weren’t up to par and he thought she couldn’t complete what he wanted her to. This made her feel awful and upset. However, in the end she proved him wrong and showed that she was valid, even when he didn’t think so!
Hearing these women’s experiences has helped me to realize that seeking validation from others isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I also need to find self-validation so that I can realize when the things others say are useful and when they are harmful. I am very hard on myself and am also very quick to let others invalidate me and knock me down because I trust their feelings more than my own. However, with the help of my awesome therapist and some great people around me, I’m learning that no matter what anyone else says or thinks, my feelings, opinions, thoughts, and existence are valid. Just because someone doesn’t agree with me doesn’t me I’m not valid. I’m learning that letting others dictate how I live my life is a surefire way to stay stuck in the trap of my anxiety and to feel unfulfilled. I’m not saying what other people say doesn’t matter, however it’s important to be able to know your own truth, regardless of what everyone else is doing.
So, if you’re someone like me who is fighting a daily battle of finding validation, you’re not alone. It’s not all going to change overnight, however it will take conscious hard work to improve. Finding self-validation is a very important aspect of self-love, which is also something I’m striving to find. No matter what, remember that you are valid and you are enough.
Like Colleen’s article? Check out more of her articles on The Odyssey Online Self Love Beauty community.