I want to let you in on a little secret… I worry a lot about whether or not people value or like me.
It’s something we all struggle with, but only more recently have I identified this exhausting cycle of looking to others to validate my worth. For so long I craved to get good grades so that my teachers and parents would be proud of me and therefore I would be a “good little girl.” Then it became career successes and acquiring as many internships + jobs as possible within my field so as to impress future employers. The end result? A not so minor set of panic attacks when life didn’t go as planned, as well as a crushing blow to my self-confidence and sense of self.
Where does one go from here you may ask. Well, there’s only one way to end the cycle: Learn to validate yourself. Learn to give yourself the attention, approval, love, and acceptance you seek from others.
I have to tell you it’s not easy. Validating yourself is not just a matter of looking in the mirror and telling yourself that you are a wonderful, beautiful child of God. It’s not just a matter of telling yourself throughout the day that you are enough. It takes great practice and also more than anything else, a changed mindset.
To begin with, the first step to self-validation is learning to access the truth of who you are from your higher minded, spiritual self. The term spiritual may make some uneasy, but by this, I mean feeling connected to an energy far greater than yourself and working with the Universe to understand it’s meaning.
It’s only when the truth of who you are comes through you that you’ll begin to believe it. Hearing the truth from your higher self isn’t as hard as you may think. When your sincere intention is to learn the truth, you will begin to feel it. Ask the Universe to reveal to you your soul’s essence and so long as you are open to the possibility of a miracle, the Universe will present you with one.
The second step to self-validation is in the way you treat yourself. For it is your thoughts that become your reality, and negative thoughts can make for a negative reality. It doesn’t matter how many lovely things your higher self tells you about who you are. You have to stop judging yourself and abandoning yourself in numerous other ways to internalize that truth. Ignoring your feelings, numbing your feelings with addictions, and making others responsible for your worth will trap you in feelings of unworthiness.
I know for me one of my greatest struggles has been my addiction to being busy/productive. For me, I often look to career success and financial security to feel worthy. I have felt like I’m nothing without my career. For instance, these past couple months not having a solid 9 to 5 with a lofty title (and pay) made me really anxious. I kept thinking about how after getting my graduate degree I was failing by not being a marketing coordinator at some fashion company. I kept seeing myself as being derailed from my dreams, rather than see that a detour happened to show me many unforeseen life lessons.
Together we need to practice treating ourselves as cherished beings worthy of all the love the Universe has to offer. The more we learn to love, see, and validate ourselves, the more validation we’ll ultimately find in others. When you treat yourself in unloving ways, you invite others to do the same. When you learn to love and validate yourself, the energy you project tells others you are worthy of being loved and validated.
Life will only change for the better when you learn to love and validate yourself. Why not choose to begin the journey of finding love from within starting right now? Close your eyes. Ask the Universe, God, or whatever you want to call it to help you. Remember that true happiness can never be found in another person, or what it is you do for work, or how many friends you have, but rather your connection to it all. Whatever you do, choose love.
Photography by Lauren Hebert