Self-validation is “accepting your own internal experience, your thoughts, and your feelings” It is when you accept and embrace yourself for being you. This word popped up for me in the therapy sessions I was doing with a few clients this week. We have been working steadfastly to work on unconditional love and acceptance for themselves. Life experiences, including some trauma, has made self-validation challenging. Life and the internal messages we give ourselves along with societal input has an impact as well. Louise L. Hay said:
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
What these clients were struggling with, and it is something I struggled with in the past, was being okay with who they are. All of it. The good, the bad, and the uncomfortable. Our internal thinking thoughts about ourselves can be downright nasty. It seems like we can easily offer comfort and encouragement to others around us yet it can be difficult to offer the same comfort, compassion, and encouragement to ourselves.
In an article in Psychology Today by Sherry Gaba “Stop Seeking Validation from Others” she wrote “According to Dr. Karen Hall, validation is the “recognition and acceptance” of someone else’s experience. Self-validation is the ability to recognize and acknowledge your own internal experience. It is not about agreeing with someone or accepting their thoughts as your own; it is about being able to accept these thoughts and experiences as being valid.” She wrote it is about letting go of the need for praise, acceptance, and acknowledgement.”
Here is an example. Have you ever posted something on social media and then according to the feedback you received with the views and likes felt better or worse about yourself? Or you began a project or accomplished something you were proud of yourself for doing only to feel deflated when another person pooh-poohed or belittled you?
In an article in Trello by Suzanne Zuppello she wrote “Author, speaker, and psychologist specializing in validation, Karyn Hall, PhD, notes that validation is all about accepting your own experience—the good and the bad. In order to progress, you cannot discount your past or look for justifications in hindsight.
Instead of looking in your internal rearview mirror, you must be present. Understanding your mood and motivations in any current situation helps in creating a plan of action while working. Presence and awareness are both cornerstones of mindfulness practices that have been proven to help with intrinsic satisfaction.”
So to get to the heart of the mater how does one begin to focus on self-validation?
Begin with a level of awareness of self. What are you doing, and what are the reasons behind your actions. Is it to get the attention and perhaps approval of others OR it is because you feel strongly this is an action you want to be taking because you want to take it. Are you excited and jazzed about the action you are taking?
Put some work and effort into your self-worth and confidence. The more positive we are about who we are helps to keep use more grounded, real, and focused. Pay attention to your “mind speak”. What is it saying about you? What it is saying about others. If there’s negativity and criticism going on change it. Because of the neuroplasticity in our brains which gives us the ability to change your brain, by using positive, strength based words repetitiously, you can change your mind speak. You can fake it until you believe it.
Next be cool with you. Yep you are you. It does not mean you do not change or evolve. It means your know your truth and what matters most to you is your approval. I worked on myself to get to this place. It was hard work that I have never ever regretted. Personal freedom in regards to my actions is so much more powerful. Knowing who I am and trusting my decisions is a great source of comfort. I am less defensive and more accepting of myself. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone, I just need to be good with me.
Mindfulness can be helpful because it allows you to listen to your inner voice of your direction to guide you to what you want to be doing, and sometimes should be doing. I have had a nagging “mow the lawn” voice going on for a few days. Today when I mowed it went away with the satisfaction of a really good looking yard.
Laura Mola, writing on self-esteem, asks the question, “Are you a player in someone else’s movie? Then star in your own. This is your life. The most important job you have is taking care of yourself. How are you doing at it? And how about getting in touch with you? Do you know who you are?”
Does self-validation mean you never get input or feedback from others? Not at all. It does not mean you stop learning or growing. If anything as you learn and grow you trust yourself more, opening yourself to new experiences. Your motivation increases. As your learn to listen and trust your inner emotions about your actions barriers seem not so huge. Potential and possibility abound all around you.
“What do you mean I have to wait for someone else’s approval. I’m someone. I approve. So I give myself full permission to move forward with my full support.” Richelle E. Goodrich.
Dear person I want you to be good with you. You matter. How you think, feel, believe matters. Putting the effort into your very own self-validation is worth the work. You are the only you that will ever be. A true one of a kind original.
May your self-validation be with you💜