I am pretty sure I am not alone when we ask the question why do people need validation? The question of validation is a relevant question. Maturity teaches us a lot about validation and being secure in one’s own worth. I am a firm believer of when you learn, teach. These days I am much more secure in my own skin that I was, even ten years ago. But this security, this wisdom came at a price. But as I have heard one of my mentors say many times, no price is too great if you learn the lesson.
I remember very clearly being young and insecure in my being, in my essence. Unsure of myself in many ways. Granted, in some ways, I was over the top secure. People who knew me would say, but you were always confident. And yes, professionally, I was confident in my abilities, and I felt unstoppable professionally. But personally and emotionally I was a mess. I was broken and heartbroken. Searching for love in all the wrong places. Even today I recognize it when I see it. So, I understand very clearly the purpose of my “going through” was so that I can relate to the signs and symptoms when I see them today. And truthfully, I am good with that. I am better than good, I am grateful! My stories provide inspiration for my sharing. My stories have encouraged many young women on their journey and for that I am grateful. And so if I had to do it all over again. I would.
Still today, my heart aches and reaches out to those who are still in the grips and vices of needing others validation, requiring someone to approve of them or make them worthy. Today, I see relationships destroyed because of the emotional bondage that needing and wanting validation from others can cause. I see young women giving up and never reaching their full potential because of their inability to see and embrace their greatness. I see young men falling by the wayside and succumbing to alcohol and drug addictions or gravitating to the world of uncertainty and danger in gangs. All of this due to their need to belong.
Why we need validation?
Throughout my life, I have asked this question many times. Why do we need validation? Why do I need validation? After a lot of soul-searching, learning from my own mentors and reading some of the great teachers like Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay and some psychological journals I have learned how profoundly we are impacted by our past. What we don’t understand is just how much our present is affected by our past. Who we are today is a model of our formative years if not intercepted by either a positive or negative force. Remember Newton’s first law of motion. An object in motion will stay in motion unless intercepted by another external force. This is the cyclical formation of life. We become what we see, and we are constantly searching for that we desired and did not have. We all are a reflection of our childhood. For some those formative years were filled with love, assurance, and approval. For many it was just the opposite. No demonstration of love. Little to no support or encouragement and no feeling of belonging. And so as we transition from one stage to another, from childhood to adolescence to adulthood the void gets wider and wider and our yearning gets greater and greater.
Years ago, while unknowingly following my pattern of lack and need, someone that I cared about deeply told me in a moment of anger that it was not his job to validate me. I had no clue that my actions in relationships (possessiveness, clinging), demonstrated just how much I needed and wanted to be loved. I didn’t truly get that what I needed so much was eluding me at every turn because of my inability to attract good and positive into my life.
While my head heard the stinging words loud and clear, my heart still yearned for approval. Many years later I looked back on that relationship in disbelief and asked myself why, why was I even in that relationship? What did this person have to offer me? What could I have possibly needed from him? Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and it’s very easy to see clearly when your glasses are not so fogged up with rose colors. While the relationship started out well in my mind, there was no real substance there. I was grasping at straws. Anything that resembled what I so desperately craved I was willing to take. We are not even on the same level let alone the same page. Time has proven this disparity. Of course, I couldn’t see that, and no one could have told me. I used the word desperate several times because that’s exactly what it was. Desperation. Somehow in my mind, I had convinced myself despite all of the love and kindness I had to offer, despite all of my professional success. Despite all of the accomplishments to date, there was no one in the world that could love me for me. So I had to settle for someone who could not love me the way I needed to be love.
So, what’s different today? The difference is my perception now and my perception then. Perception is relative. It changes. It grows. It becomes clearer. It gets foggy. Experience and maturity can catapult perception to a whole new level. Now, I need less validation from others than I did then. Because I am now looking through the eyes of love for myself, I can clearly see that love was not existent in that relationship? Today I see through love. Then I was looking for love. Perception makes all the difference in the world.
When it all started….
Here’s what I’ve learned. Humans have a need to be approved by others. God made it so. We were created that way. We were created to need each other. If we take it all the back to the beginning, we can argue that woman was created because of man’s need. Upon sight, he vowed to leave father and mother and cleave to his wife. That’s how great that need was. We were created to support each other and encourage it other. But where does it start? How can you give something you don’t have? Here is where the gap is found. At a very early age, a child’s worth is defined by their parents. If a child is abandoned and rejected his self-worth can plummet. Growing up we want our parents to be pleased with us. We do things to get their attention. We crave the positive feedback from our mothers and fathers, and rightfully so. And even when we don’t get it we find ways to act out to get some attention, even if it’s negative.
We look up to grandparents, preachers, friends, teachers. Little girls need their dad’s approval and love. Dad should be the first to say you are beautiful. You are precious. You are the first man she comes in contact with. The very first model of love. Little boys are just as needy if not more. We all tend to look up to people in authority. This approval in the early stages of our lives helps to build our confidence and boost our self-esteem. It helps us to know who we are and what we are capable of. It becomes our ladder to self-validation and put us on the path to success. It supports us until we can support ourselves. It becomes a firm foundation from which we can stand on all of our lives.
But when we don’t receive this approval and support as a child we grow up seeking it from others. Most if not all our lives are spent trying to please someone so that we can feel like we matter. So even though we may be chronologically perceived as an adult, we are still very much little girls and boys on the inside seeking validation from those we esteem as better or in higher authority than we are. Thus, when it comes to relationships we look to our spouses, partners, girlfriends, and boyfriends for validation. Somewhere deep inside we are yearning to hear some form of approval. We want to see a smile or hear a great job. We are always looking for our parents love. The first love we were supposed to receive.
As a young adult and struggling with this need myself I realized long ago that you just don’t wake up one morning and no longer need validation from others. Overcoming your validation struggles requires patience, time, effort and energy. It is not an overnight process. Replacing your “I need and want love” sign on your forehead to “I have abundant and plentiful love” can take considerable time, effort and practice. You have to come to the conclusion that others don’t have what you need, in fact, you can’t even attract the right kind of people into your life because of your lack. In true paradox fashion, you must have to get. You must give to receive.
Changing your thought process is the only way to begin to heal yourself and take back your power. Understanding that no one can ever give you the validation you crave is the starting point for true healing and can begin to change the cycle of impoverished thinking to a more abundant thought process. Instead of needing others to validate you. You can begin to validate yourself. We cannot go back to those days of childhood and get what we needed, but as an adult you can take full responsibility for your needs right here and right now and began to take back the power we gave to others.
The key is you have to be prepared for putting just as much energy into validating yourself as you want others to put into you. Today, as I continue my journey I coach others on how to begin their journey. While it is not an overnight process, every step you take is one step closer to your goal. With every step, you begin to strengthen your validation muscle. One day you will look in the mirror and see a whole different person staring back at you. You are stronger, more confident and empowered. You are now ready to teach others what you’ve learned along the way.
To learn some of the methods I used in my healing journey to self-validation. Click here.
I firmly believe that when you learn you should teach. I believe that is one of the purposes for struggles. I would love to hear your thoughts on why we need validation. Please comment below. We would love to hear from you?