Recently, I came across a meme that highlighted how to recognize those who are truly present in our lives. It went something like this: “Never forget 3 types of people in your life … those who helped you in difficult times, those who left you in difficult times, those who put you in difficult times.” So powerful, especially in my life riddled with countless challenging and “difficult times” and difficult people. I went on to comment that I am so grateful for those who didn’t desert or “change” when I was experiencing some of my most challenging times.
A hard lesson that I learned throughout my life is that your people are those that catch you when you fall, not those that walk away and let you hit the ground when you didn’t meet their expectations because you owe nothing to anyone nor do you need their validation. Real friends are friends regardless of what’s happening in your life, they celebrate the highs with you and support you when you’re at your lowest (not just stick around for the drama and gossip). Everyone else is just an acquaintance, even troublemaking family members.
Learning this was absolutely a “wow moment” for me. It took time, however. I spend many nights wrapped up in my bitterness and resentment. I was playing the victim, victim mentality was my jam for so long. At my lowest I would ask “How DARE THEY do this to me. How DARE THEY desert me. How DARE THEY use me. How DARE THEY not call me back. How DARE THEY lie to me. How DARE THEY not hire me. How DARE THEY not invite me to their gatherings anymore. How DARE THEY ruin my life.” And so on and so on. You probably have the same tape playing on repeat in your head, right? Right?!
They do dare because they are who they are and they have every right to make whatever choices they want to. We also have every right to choose how we react. The mistake I made was giving over my power to each and every person who hurt me. I spent way too much time giving others importance and handed them the keys to my happiness and peace when no one, ever, deserves that much power over anyone. I eventually learned, grew and became a more enlightened person.
I grew to see how much power I was handing to others and was appalled. We all do that, but why do we do engage in this behavior? For me it was due to several traumas I experienced in my life that made me feel less than I was. It is also because we are conditioned to seek validation. We are raised to seek validation and approval from family, friends, teachers, employers, romantic relationships, even people we only meet on social media. Social media is jam packed with things that are designed to make us feel less than we are. I keep getting advertisements for menopausal pills and treatments … umm what? I know I’m no spring chicken but this is ridiculous. This is toxic, unhealthy and it has to stop because it stands in the way of our true and absolute happiness and, frankly, we deserve better. It was not until I realized and truly understood that the only person I needed to validate me was me that I was able to regain control of my power.
How to stop seeking validation
While a little bit of validation from others is ok, too much is certainly not. How do you know how to balance? Well, for example, if you study hard for a test or interview and get your desired result or outcome, then, that accomplishment validates your hard work. This is positive. When we seek out friends and family to help us celebrate something great or an important milestone, this is also positive. This is validation of circumstances and events related to your hard work or you, however it doesn’t validate or define you as a person. When we seek out validation on a deeper level, like when we endure a bad relationship or friendship because we don’t want to be alone or we do something that is outside the scope of our core beliefs and values just to impress someone, or even be a people pleaser, don’t forget posting things on social media to get reactions and likes and views. All these are examples of unhealthy ways we seek out validation from others.
Boundaries. One important way to stop seeking out validation is to set healthy boundaries for yourself. We know we need them but we rarely enforce them. Loosie goosy boundaries take away our power and hand them to others on a silver platter. When you ignore red flags, look to impress other people, always want to be invited, do things that don’t feel right, ignore you instincts, this is ignoring your boundaries and handing over your power to others. Guarding your boundaries and practicing self respect with keep out all the “undesirables” in your life and keep in those who truly want your best. You will also be confident enough to not need others’ validation because you know who you are and where your boundaries lie.
Self-Care and Self-Love. What really helped me was practicing self-care and self-love. When I started filling my own cup with good, happy and uplifting things for me, I no longer had room for other people’s junk. I use this analogy a lot. We often don’t even realize how much power over our cup with give others. Some examples of self-care practices I use are positive affirmations, journaling, meditation, prayer, walking, listening to music, reading, learning, watching some guilty pleasure shows (haunted anything works for me!), speaking to a therapist, and spending quality time with my family and friends. All these things fill my cup to almost overflowing. When I feel that the cup isn’t as full as it should be, I reassess and shift. It can be a daily struggle, especially with my full schedule and young children, but I make the time because when I don’t I can feel it and it effects my mood and attitude. Each person has their own list of what works for them, it’s up to you to enforce it on yourself. I schedule time out in my day to do it with no exceptions. Self-love came as a result.
Saying NO! One thing I had a lot of trouble with, especially with people I wanted to impress, was saying no. I was stuck in trying to please people who didn’t even give a crap about me but for some reason I put them on a pedestal and regardless if I knew it was wrong, I could never say no because what if they left or didn’t speak to me again. I had a fear that they would abandon me. They had all my power. I look back and think of how much time I wasted people pleasing. I was untrue to myself and suffered for it. Learning to say no was not easy and it was a slow process but it was an important step to getting my power back and now that I’m here I’m never going back!
Your Tribe. Having healthy connections with people who want your best and uplift you will help in you letting go your need for validation. It certainly helped me. When going through the storm and coming out the other side I saw who was there with me, who helped me stay grounded, who helped me find my true self and never judged me. It’s only when you go through the storm that you realize who was only there for the drama and who truly cared about you. It was a hard lesson to learn but I’m happy I learned it. Although my tribe is a lot smaller than it used to be, I’m so grateful for them because they are solid. Everyone else is just an acquaintance and that’s OK. I never wish bad things for anyone and hope everyone lives a happy and fulfilled life. I just no longer need to be part of it and that’s totally OK.
Although I’m far from perfect, I’m in a much better place than I ever was. I’m still learning and growing every day. Something I still struggle with is not feeling or looking the same since creating humans inside my body but I’m getting to a place of acceptance and empowerment. I’m still working on myself but where I am today is not where I was and I’m grateful for that. As I read once, “I’m not where I want to be but thank God I’m not where I was.” That’s me. Here. In a much better place. Not seeking validation. I hope my ramblings gave you something to think about, perhaps even relate with, and inspired you to be truer to yourself than you ever have been.
I will be sharing more of my journey in the coming weeks, I will also be sharing some key growth tips as well as a new eBook to help in the process. Please subscribe to my site to not miss a single thing!
READERS: What are your thoughts on this? Please share in the comments!