I cringe when I think about the amount of time I’ve wasted in my life, obsessing and humiliating myself on an endless quest for validation. Trying to figure out how to stop seeking validation was always impossible for me. No matter what age or stage, there was always someone who I was convinced, if I just worked a little harder and gave a little more, I’d get a validation crumb from. This crumb would not only save me from myself, but it would invalidate everyone and everything that had ever caused me pain (including the cynical audience in my head). Life could finally begin.
Validation seeking is a form of perfectionism and perfection is the lowest standard that you can ever hold yourself to. We become perfection-addicted because deep down, we know that we can never be perfect. And because we know that we are holding ourselves to an unachievable standard, we become avoidant; scared to face and acknowledge ourselves and the time that we’ve wasted.
So what do we do? We further invest in the bullsh*t mindset of:
“Must win. Must be chosen. Must prove wrong. Must be the exception to a toxic person’s rule. Must get the cat to bark.”
The same goes with validation seeking.
Just like perfectionism, seeking validation will rob you of the ability to process your past, live in the now, and experience what is destined for you in the future.
When you live your life exclusively based on a force outside of your control (the opinions of others), you give up your right to take action, attract mutual, available relationships, and find meaning within. You willingly commit spiritual and emotional suicide.
And by acquiescing to a life of the walking dead, you’re then unable to truly “live,” until resurrected through the validation of a toxic person
I used to be dependent on both positive and negative validation to take ANY action in my life. I needed the validation of lovers and friends to propel me into action as well as the validation of the doubters and haters to propel me into proving them wrong.
The end result was eventually devolving into someone who was all talk – all plans, ideas, hopes, dreams… and that’s about it. I didn’t know how to stop seeking validation and because of that, I completely lost my innate ability to execute.
Plans, ideas, hopes, and dreams are GREAT, but without the propellant of execution, its all hot air. You’re left with nothing but the anchor of your excuses.
“Everyone is self-made, but only the successful will admit it.”- Earl Nightingale
And just like in mob movies, I only believed that I was “made,” when I had outside sources of validation. I had no idea how to validate and “make” myself.
I was the most reliant on validation in my romantic relationships. And because I never got more than a dirty drop of water from the empty well that was my emotionally and empathetically bankrupt partner, I relied heavily on negative validation in the form of snooping and investigating.
Looking back, I think I would snoop with the subconscious hope of finding something that would hurt me enough to make me work/try even harder in the relationship (and beat myself up more when I couldn’t be “enough” for him to change/commit/be honest with me).
Once the breakup ensued, my need for validation didn’t end with the relationship.
It somehow got worse.
Because I never felt valid in the relationship, I made it my mission to attain that well-deserved validation now that we were broken up. It took me years to realize that you can’t expect someone to behave a certain way (connected, empathetic, honest, respectful, reasonable) outside of a relationship with you, that they could never consistently be in the relationship with you.
And because I didn’t know how to stop seeking validation, I NEEDED my ex to provide validation for me after the breakup in the form of…
- Realizing and admitting that he dropped the ball.
- Understanding how deeply he hurt me (and the “consequences” of such).
- Admitting to all of his issues.
- Acknowledging what I couldn’t even recognize in myself: that he had f*cked it up with an amazing and irreplaceable person.
- Come running back and beg for a second chance the moment that I cut him off.
- Giving me an emotional gold star for itemizing how much he had put me through.
- Recognizing his mistakes and then making more future-fakey false promises.
- After a “long talk,” combusting into the realization that I’m “The One” and that he could never do better.
None of the above ever happened. The only thing that occurred as a result of seeking this kind of validation was a complete disintegration of my self-respect (and a valid license for my ex to victimize himself and write me off as certifiable).
Reading the above bullet points exhausts and embarrasses me. It’s one thing to have a talk and express your feelings, but when it gets to the point that you’re trying to get a grown adult to acknowledge why something that was hurtful was indeed hurtful… that’s not only unattractive, but it’s also a red flag.
Everyone needs boundaries, standards, and limits. I had NONE.
I encountered this in friendships as well. It was a hamster wheel of “please choose me… please tell me that I’m enough… that I’m worth fighting for… that I’m worth inviting/calling/texting/remembering… that I’m special enough to be your best friend, etc.”
And because I didn’t know how to stop seeking validation, I didn’t realize how easy I was making it for others to walk away from me (and never look back).
I kept attracting situations that catered to my fear of abandonment and solidified the belief that I was forgettable.
Here’s how to stop seeking validation for good so that you can live an extraordinary life on your own terms.
Today, I no longer validation seek. And I don’t care to snoop or investigate whomever I’m with because I’m too busy enjoying them and our relationship.
Remember: You will always attract what you exude.
I finally got an emotional life of my own. And because I can now take care of my own emotional needs and validate myself, I no longer need anyone to tell me who I am or give me an assessment of my worth.
I don’t care about or engage in competing with an ex or with other women. I stay in my own lane, on my own white horse and because of that, am able to appreciate people for the lessons and light amplifiers/dimmers that they unfold to be.
I no longer prioritize being jealous, being seen, being heard, being right, winning, being the “gotcha!” police, and having the last word. I don’t have to worry anymore about insuring a slot (at the expense of my dignity), in “The One That Got Away” zone. When you have the ability to validate yourself, you become The One That Got Away by default.
I’ve let go of expectations from others and because of that, have raised the ones that I have for myself. Validation from outside sources is no longer enticing because integrity and dignity have now been replaced by what used to be a bottomless pit of insecurity and hunger for a reminder that I wasn’t as invisible as I felt.
I’m no longer game for being anyone’s performing circus animal or emotional training wheels because I don’t make everything about me and my perceived lack of value. Everything is so much less painful, dramatic, and all the concerted effort I used to have to make is now effortless because I’m not relying on anyone else’s compass anymore. I gained access back to my own.
And if I can go from batsh*t to balanced, so.can.YOU.
How to stop seeking validation: STEP #1: Don’t expect to be healed.
If you’re finding it difficult to stop obsessing about your relationship and move on, it’s generally because you’re seeking validation. You want the other person to validate you by expressing that they understand things from your perspective; that they feel your pain, know where they went wrong, and what they’ve subsequently lost. Neil Strauss said something to me a once that changed my life. He said, “you can’t expect the same person that wounded you to heal you.”
Save yourself the emotional currency and understand that if someone had the capacity to disregard you, hurt you, and lie to you… They will never have the magic potion to heal the wounds that they inflicted. Guess who the only person is that has that power? YOU. You are the only one who knows it all – all of your secrets, failures, experiences, triggers, fears, shortcomings, etc. and guess what?… You’re STILL here, right by your own side. If that’s not what constitutes the most badass validation, I don’t know what does. Just because it’s been subconscious, doesn’t mean that it does not deserve to be recognized. No one will heal you more or better than you can heal yourself, right now. It’s a decision away.
How to stop seeking validation STEP #2: Stop expecting them to “get it,” and acknowledge the pure GOLD that’s right in front of you.
Understand that if your partner is failing to validate your pain, respect your boundaries and “get” how they hurt you, you’re dealing with someone who is empathetically bankrupt and most likely, a narcissist. And there’s nothing you can do about that because they had this emotional handicap before you came into the picture.
If you claim to feel so powerless after the breakup that you need validation from your ex, it gets to a point where you need to ask yourself, “why do I feel as though I’m THAT POWERFUL, that the moment someone leaves my presence, they resurrect from the emotional dead and become a connected, respectful and empathetic individual?”Instead of imposing further self-blame for not being able to get a cat to bark, look at the PURE GOLD that’s right in front of you: this person is giving you the ultimate gift. They are showing you who they are, who they’ve always been, who they’ll always be, and the filth that they are actually capable of. Look, listen, and ACT. You can’t get someone to see in themselves what they have no problem refusing to see but you CAN do so for yourself.
How to stop seeking validation STEP #3: Know what you DON’T need.
Stop being so concerned with what you’ve convinced yourself that you need (validation), and start identifying what you DON’T need. I wish someone would have sat me down and told me this 15 years ago: You don’t need ANYONE to validate what you ALREADY KNOW.
Yes, being empathized with and acknowledged is great, but if you don’t know how to validate your own intuition, values, morals, beliefs, gut feelings and perception, you’ll forever be at the mercy of and dependent on the unreliability of another person’s compass. If you know that what someone did was hurtful, wrong, disrespectful and unkind, WHY do you need the other person to validate YOUR judgment? YOU know and that’s enough. If you know that you’ve been treated terribly and the other person can’t recognize it, who waste your time? The moment that you realize you are going to have to be the emotional training wheels for a grown adult, RUN. All it takes is acting upon your intuition ONE TIME and your backbone, confidence, self-respect, and self-love will unconditionally build.
How to stop seeking validation STEP #4: Clean up the contradictions.
If you’re looking for someone to validate you that, through their actions, has INVALIDATED you… wtf are you doing? It’s pointless! Speak with your actions, pick up the pieces of your broken heart, and move on.
The short-term pain WILL hurt, but it WILL pass. Why trade it for the long-term agony of fracturing your dignity (and setting yourself up for more “please validate me” relationships)?
How to stop seeking validation STEP #5: Know what it really means.
The only reason that I ever needed validation from a lover, an ex or friend was because I placed no value on my own judgment, intuition, opinions, feelings, eyes, ears and SELF.
And because I was coming from a place of emotional and spiritual bankruptcy, I placed all of my value on getting the empathetically impaired to empathize with and validate the position of the very things that they had broken: my trust and my heart.
Sometimes you just need to accept the loss, hug yourself a bit tighter and do something that you’ve never been able to do: use your pain as propellant and ACT, by putting one foot in front of the other. Wipe the memories from your eyes as they stream down your face, have your own back, hold into your dignity for dear life.
It WILL get better and you are already getting stronger with every step.
Yes, you will grieve, YES, it’s a death, YES it’s painful as hell, but it’s nowhere near as painful as the pseudo comfort that you extract from the familiarity of your own abandonment, rejection, and misery.
You are so much more than the pain of your childhood, the pain of your past, and the triggers that have you convinced you need to be “good enough,” for the INVALIDATOR to somehow VALIDATE you (??).
Maintain your boundaries and rely on the knowingness of the respect that ACTING on those boundaries garners.
Make a decision and respect that decision by acting on it. Water the seed of your decision with commitment – instead of second guessing the sh*t out of it and living in the land of convenient, f*ck buddy limbo. You’re better than that.
Yeah, it’s hard but if you do the work, you’ll start to see the benefits. You’ll be happier, less frantic and at PEACE. You’ll see the other person for who they are and you’ll start to see you for who you TRULY are: someone who can get back up in spite of being knocked to the ground.
Toss the instant gratification entitlement crap and do the one that you KNOW will reward you in spades for the rest of your life – dignifiedly act.
And THAT my friends, is how you build the kind of confidence, allure, and dimension that supersedes ANY physical attribute (which will always, fade with time). Your strength and beauty are timeless.
That’s how to stop seeking validation and live life on your terms.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your relationship, please look into working with me here.