As a mentor, career, and personal development coach I am always touting the importance of self-validation. The importance of taking back your power from others and living an empowered life. Struggling with this issue myself for many years I am well aware that learning how to validate yourself does not happen overnight, and even after learning different tools to use there is a process. But the sooner we begin to practice the faster we can see small strides of achievement. The following are five ways to start the process of healing and validating yourself.
Loving Yourself First
If you asked most of us if we loved ourselves, we would look at you with a smirk and say most definitely; I love myself. When I started my journey many years ago before I got married, I found out that I really didn’t love myself as I should. One night in a conference of my mentors was sharing about what love looks like and how we all have so many different ways of measuring it but that there is only one true measurement, and that’s how God sees love. That night, that statement hit me like a ton of bricks. I went home thinking about how I measure love and what it looks like to me. Now, I consider myself to have a pretty high standard of love but looking at Christ’s love compared to mine; there was very little to argue.
When I thought about all that Christ did and took because of his love for me, I was completely overwhelmed. Thinking about how he left a heaven I can’t truly imagine and came to earth to die a death no one should have to endure all because of the Father’s love for us; there is no comparison. We can only strive towards the mark of that high calling.
I decided to rake it down a notch and view love from a more common or natural perspective. I asked myself what does love look like to me.? If I wanted love from another person what would I expect of them? How would they treat me? What would they do for me? Where would they take me?
I saw myself writing down all of those things we say love is, from the intangibles like respect, care, and concern, to the tangibles like flowers dinners, beautiful gifts and jewelry and the like. My list got longer and longer as I let my mind roam free with a limitless picture of what love looked like to me.
At the end of my very long list, I had to face the tough question of how much of these things that I expected from someone else had I given to myself? That was a huge moment for me. I sat in stunned silence and had to will myself to breathe. Right then and there my whole thought process changed. I knew I had to start with loving myself. Without giving you the whole laundry list of things I wanted from others I can say I am making a lot of progress on my journey of loving me first. I challenge you to write down your list of what love looks like to you. And begin to check off the list of those things that you have done for yourself.
Part of loving yourself is speaking to your spirit and endowing yourself with love. Deep down inside we all want to hear great things from others. We want to hear how special and lovable we are. Well, there is no time like the present to begin endowing yourself with the positive affirmations you want from others.
Even if you have never had anyone in your life to tell you that you are special. It’s important that you begin the healing journey by affirming yourself. We often want from others what we are not willing to give to ourselves. The laws of the universe work just the opposite. It’s a paradox of sorts. We must give to receive. We must love to be loved. So all of those great things that you desire someone to say to you. Begin to say them to yourself. Tell yourself how wonderful you are.
Tell yourself how special, kind and considerate you are. Look yourself in the mirror and tell the person staring back at you that they truly are the sweetest, kindest, most wonderful person in the world. I challenge you to try it right now. Below are five of my favorite affirmations. You can start saying them right now.
• I am a beautiful shining light, a beacon for all to see and follow
• I matter, and I have amazing gifts to share with the world
• I was created on purpose and for his purpose
• I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am the great artistry and design of my creator
• When God created me he said I was good, never once did he take it back
Be Your Healthiest Self
Begin your journey of self-empowerment by becoming your healthiest self. Our physical health has a lot to do with how we feel about ourselves emotionally. When you are ill or not in the best health, it is very easy for depression and other emotional issues to crop up. So start working on being your healthiest self. You will begin to see immediate results in how you start to feel about you. As you make progress, you will find your self-worth is increasing with each goal or milestone made. Some ways to work on being healthy include:
Start an exercise regime and be consistent. Exercise is not just for the overweight. Exercise helps to clear your mind and releases stress
Change your diet and ensure you are eating the right foods that your body needs. Every diet is not for everyone. Sometimes consulting certified nutritionist can help you optimize your health efforts.
Believe it or not helping others and giving of your time, effort and resources to someone in need can be one of the greatest self-worth boosts you can get. I have found the greatest knowledge of who I am and my capabilities comes from my work as a professor, mentor, and career coach. Helping others help you to see yourself in a different light and from a different perspective. While helping others (becoming a mentor, volunteering at a nursing home, etc.), you learn more about yourself and your gifts and talents. Often we will find talents that we never knew we had. Before I started volunteering for a nonprofit organization, I never knew I could or even wanted to work with kids. All of my professional life had been spent working in administrative positions training employees and managing departments. After leaving hospitality, I found myself teaching classes as a professor in colleges and universities. I was very content. That was until I asked to be on the board of directors for P&P Helping Hand Foundation. My experiences had brought to this place of preparing our youth for success. Working with young people as the director of our literacy program has become one of my greatest passion. I have found that helping others helps you to continue to grow in your journey, but it also helps you to realize that you matter. That you have something to offer and you and will continue to impact someone’s life for the good. That a huge self-validation booster.
Attract Healthy Relationships
As you become healthier emotionally, you will find yourself shedding old relationships. Most times they will walk away from you. You will find people saying that you are different. You’ve changed. And that’s the truth. You have. Embrace the change. Don’t feel bad about it. You are in a different frequency, and your conversations and behavior will no longer be the same. So it is okay to lose unhealthy relationships. So it’s okay to attract healthy relationships. Notice I said attract not seek. When you are emotionally healthy your energy and aura speak for you; you will automatically begin to attract the right kind of people that will continue what you have started.
As far as intimate relationships go, I think in loving relationships we nurture each other and feed each other with love and spiritual healing, our mates will give positively affirm you because you are both giving each other what the other person needs, but it shouldn’t be anyone’s responsibility to validate us. When we talk about validation, we speak in terms of others substantiating our being. Others being the reason we live. Needing others endorsement to feel okay with our essence. There is only one person that can substantiate your being, and that is you. God already put his brand of approval and called his creation good. So who else do you need to say that you are good?
I encourage you today to embrace your greatness. Embrace the very essence of who you were created to be. Stand in the mirror and smile at him/her and declare your victory. You are all the validation you need. Your brand of approval is all that truly matters. You came into this world alone, and you will leave alone. Your character will be the legacy left behind. Take back your power and know that you are amazing just as you are. That is all the validation you need. As a career and personal development coach I am always happy to help you find your purpose and your peace. For more information please review my website www.exclusivelyyoucoaching.com or contact me at Tonya@exclusivelyyoucoaching.com
Please share your stories of how you struggle with or overcame the need for validation. We would love to hear it. Leave a comment below.
How to change negative thought patterns?
If you find yourself asking the question, how to change negative thought patterns this article is for you? Have you ever wondered why it so easy to see the negative things in our lives before we see the positive things? Even as a professor I have to stop myself from picking out the wrong things in a paper before seeing the correct things in a paper. This is something I have had to work on. A little later I will share with you how I am working on it.
Let me say, If you are not used to evaluating yourself in honesty and truth on a consistent basis, it will be hard for you to recognize even when this is happening. Even then there is always the denial phase that we go through. I know this because I went through it as well. It was a complete shock to me when I realized just how cynical I had become and how it was so very easy to see the negative before seeing the positive.
Once I accepted this was indeed the truth I began to carefully evaluate my thoughts and my behavior and one by one I began to see the pattern. It may take you a little while to realize, but you see you can then begin to do something about it.
I decided to write on this subject because just this very week I saw negativity rear its ugly head regarding a a big project I am working on. Not once has this person for whom the project is being done for, stopped to say thank you or to demonstrate that he sees the effort put into the project. But, what is painfully noticed, is all of the things about the project that is not right. I’ve come to realize that this thought process is human nature. Our world, our environments has made us so cynical that it’s hard to see the beauty when our vision is so tainted with so many other negative thoughts.
Now the real revelation came as I was sharing with a friend how sad it was that this person could not see the good things that were taking place in the project. At that very moment, the light bulb came on, and I saw that I was doing exactly what I was accusing him of doing.
Now, here’s the kicker, was I telling the truth about this person’s behavior? Absolutely! Were they telling the truth about some issues with the project? Absolutely! But how does any of mine or his complaints solve the problem? Well, it doesn’t. Here’s what’s happening. Because of the negative backlash, my teammates and I are going to get tired and not do the job with the enthusiasm we started out with. Let’s face it! Negativity is demotivating. Many people, particularly use it as a tool to motivate. Let me tell you. It doesn’t work.
Telling your child that he or she is not good enough or that someone else is better than they could enhance their competitive nature, but ultimately, the resentments and hurt from the spoken words meant to motive can cause a wound that may not ever heal.
Their competitive nature may propel hem towards some success in some areas of life. But the wounded spirit left unmanned and can lead to further complications down the road. Often acted out in many vices that are in the world today. That is one of the reasons why so many seemingly successful people tend to be alcoholics, drug addicts, or hide in shame while attending to other vices such as overeating and cheating, etc. The other thing that can happen is that due to the lack of motivation and let’s face it, heart put into the project, it will not turn out right. So the end results will be a self-fulfilling prophecy for him.
But what about my teammates and me? Should we allow his behavior to deter us from doing the job we set out to do. The obvious answer is no. But the truth is, who among us feel good about doing something for someone that is seemingly unappreciative. In all honesty, no one does.
Back to the revelation. As I was pondering this situation and my reaction I asked myself how I can change my thoughts about this situation? Now, of course, one of the first thoughts that came to me was that this person, we are working on the project for is not going to change his thoughts. Again, that’s a true statement, but how does it benefit me at this time to think that truthful, but negative thought? How does it help me to persist in this thought pattern? Simply put, it doesn’t.
When I am lecturing this subject sometimes, students ask, how is it negative if it’s the truth. Here’s the quick answer. The thought is negative if it does not propel you in a positive direction. This thought was very quickly driving me into a depression. A mindset that says stop! Let it go. Don’t do it. Now mind you, what I had to come to grips with is that these were not my thoughts. At least not my initial thoughts. So which thought was real? Which thought was mine. Was it the original thought that had me excited and gung-ho about the project? Or was It, this now lackadaisical, I don’t care thoughts?
The other critical question was who was I giving my power to? Was it this situation? This seeming unappreciative person? Or am I the master of my thoughts, my actions, and my behavior?
So I had to quickly make some changes. Here’s the truth of the matter. He will most likely not change his behavior. This behavior is a pattern and has become ingrained. The older we get, the worse it gets. We speak, live and walk in this type of behavior every day. Indeed, it has become a pattern. A bad pattern of behavior. So how do we change it? How do I change this pattern? Here are the following steps to changing your negative thought patterns.
Recognize the truth about you
Accepting the truth is sometimes very hard to do. This too has become a pattern, a way of life. The only way to break the destructive habit is to be completely honest with you. It’s so important to accept the good, bad and ugly about oneself. It is our imperfections that keep us humble, continually refining our character and striving toward the mark. Dealing with the truth that we often see the bad before the good is illuminating. Does that make you a negative person? Yes, pretty much! This is the ugly about me that I had to recognize. But the great thing about it is that I created this pattern so I can most certainly break it. I have the power, and so do you. Today, you can take back your power!
Commit to change
Recognizing the truth is good but for change to take place we must commit to making a change. Consistency is the key. We must be vigilant in discovering the truth about our behavior. We must carefully analyze ourselves at every opportunity and commit to changing the destructive behavior. Commitment equals dedication. Dedications equals demonstration.
Identify the cues
The next step is to determine the cues that cause us to persist in this pattern of negativity. How do we feel when this behavior crops up? What are you doing? What’s happening around you? What’s happening in your life overall? Are you at peace? Most often, we are not at peace. There is some upheaval that going on in our lives. Unfortunately, this event or circumstance happens to get the brunt of the negatively that’s inside of you and truly has nothing to do with this situation.
As you analyze yourself, you will begin to catch yourself when you are looking for the negative instead of the positive. As a professor, I realized that one of my cues was frustration. I am always in awe of how 80% of my students can read, hear and see the same thing and yet 200% of them get it wrong. So, I have noticed that if student A is a good student and following directions, it shows in their papers. After grading one or two of these papers, my body is relaxed whenever I get to student A and I am looking forward to commenting on the good things in the paper. Now, student B previous papers demonstrates that he or she does not take the time to read and follow the directions so in subsequent papers I began to look immediately for what’s wrong with the paper and not what’s right.
Breaking that habit was hard. But identifying the cues was enlightening. The bottom line is when I am feeling good I see nothing but the sunshine and good things. When I am not, I see the negative before the good. Now this is pretty much truth for all of us, but it is eye opening to recognize how often you are feeling good versus feeling bad.
Reframe the issue
The next step in the process is to reframe the issue. I love this word. REFRAME. What does it mean? Hers how I see it.
If we are talking about pictures. We would take the picture out of the ragged and broken frame and place it in a beautiful new picture frame. We have just reframed that picture.
It’s the same thing with words, expressions, and situations. We have to look at the situation from a different angle, from a different perspective. What helped me in the case mentioned above was two reframing thoughts.
First, I looked at it from his perspective. The person whom we are working on the project. It is important to know that this is a not a paid project. It is voluntary. I make that point because of the reframing thoughts would be I am getting paid to do a good job if this was a paid project.
However, looking at it from his perspective was a great place to start reframing. There was truth in what was said, just not expressed well, but that’s beside the point for my reframing. The concerns were legitimate. The way the words were spoken was not helpful. However, the message behind the words could lead to a better project.
Second, I had to look at it from my perspective of working towards refining my character. As stated earlier, I must stay true to myself. I cannot allow someone else’s negative behavior take me out of my own character of giving it my best. That’s my personal value. My personal credo is to do everything in excellence.
So even this, shrouded as it is in negativity, must be done in excellence. Moving forward several months in the future I will be happier with myself if I know that I gave it all I could. That I did everything within my power to make the project successful. Regardless of what is said even regardless of the outcome, I will feel good about my contribution.
And that’s the essence of reframing the issue. It’s turning it around to see the good and not the bad.
Now, this is not something that can’t be done once. It has to become a pattern. Because I live my life this way now, some of my friends who are used to seeing the negative first looks at me a bit differently. Most people want you to agree with them when they are in their negative rants. In fact, one of my friends bought it to my attention last weekend that growing up I was always the one to say smile and don’t let it get to you. She saw it in a negative light. Funny, how that works out huh? Something good like encouragement to behave appropriately in public was seen as negative. Like I wasn't true to my feelings. But the truth is even then I was reframing the issue. I refuse to allow someone else to dictate my behavior. I can indeed accept my emotions and honor my truth. But I don’t’ have to let anyone control my behavior and how I respond. I choose to reframe the issue.
From reading my story about recognizing my negative patterns, can you see yours or share with us what methods or tools you used to overcome. Some of us are still overcoming, and that’s okay. We would love to hear from you. What’s your best overcoming negative thoughts tool?