Join Now

4 Ways to Heal From Validation-Seeking

By Jay Shetty

People want to feel seen and heard in order to confirm that what they’re doing, chasing, supporting, and becoming is both good and matters. 

A disconnection occurs when we search for this affirmation in false validation— otherwise known as validation-seeking. 

This disconnection can look like having an intense fear of doing or saying something that will be judged harshly, becoming out of touch with your sense of self and personal autonomy, and making decisions solely based on the approval of others. This kind of validation-seeking requires us to constantly change ourselves to fit the ways in which we believe others want us to live.

However, some validation can be useful. Looking for signs of the way the world reacts to us and our decisions is a natural part of the way we’re wired. Our brains are highly attuned to react to what we perceive as agreement or disagreement. It’s a form of consideration that’s tied to our natural human instincts, and it allows us to ensure that what we’re putting out is being well-received. 

However, craving validation may not be an inherently bad thing, but it’s still a good way to spend your life doubting your intuition and looking to others to confirm your own self-worth. 

More than anything, I want you to realize that the only validation that truly matters is your own. Here’s how you can start believing it.

Ignore Social Media

Although it allows us to connect with the world and express ourselves on new levels, a built-in validation exists in the way that all social media operates. It teaches us to measure ourselves by likes, views, and shares. 

Huffington Post writer Clarissa Silva conducted in-depth interviews with active social media users aged 28 to 73 and found that 60 percent of users considered their social media a danger to their self-esteem. 

When social media has this level of impact on us, we scroll through our phones feeling worse about ourselves (and our lives) than we did before. It’s a strong indication that we’re looking in places we shouldn’t for false forms of validation. We’re opening these apps with the intention— usually a very unconscious intention— to gauge how we should feel about our own selves. It almost guarantees comparison with others, which never creates anything good. 

Comparing your life to what you see on social media is a slippery slope of validation-seeking behavior. It causes you to question if your life stacks up to what you see from others. This type of validation is based on a skewed perception that, in actuality, doesn’t really exist. 

Social media is fake. It’s about what other people want you to see. This is the definition of being unreal. It’s simply a curated collection of everyone’s best moments, just a slice of their life— and an edited one, at that. Even when content feels authentic, it’s planned. It’s contrived. And it doesn’t make sense to measure the quality or value of your life against someone’s curated version of their own. Please remember this. 

Think For Yourself

“Just don’t care what other people think of you!” 

How many times have you heard someone say this? Probably a lot. 

They’re correct, to an extent. It’s important not to allow what other people think to dictate your decisions and your life. And most importantly, not to allow the opinions of others to determine what you think of yourself. 

However, we have to be gentle with ourselves and understand that there are just some situations in which we’re going to care what other people think. It’s in our nature to be curious about what our friends and family think of us, after all. And it’s impossible to stop caring about what others think entirely. Plus, there’s a level of empathy located within caring about the thoughts of others. It can be a very natural and compassionate thing.

There’s also a side to this that can help us create a kinder, more cohesive society. Caring about what other people think isn’t always about fitting in or being insecure. It can be about considering your own values and how they align with the values of those around you, learning about different perspectives and opinions, and approaching everyone you encounter with thoughtful intention. 

You are allowed to care about what other people think. Just know that what they think can never affect your worth, dictate your life, or control your decisions— unless you allow it.

Connect With Your Values

When you’re out in the world, it’s easy to lose your sense of self if you don’t have a firm understanding of your values and why they’re your values. 

Your values are the things in this life that you hold most dear, that you pursue, that you uphold and believe in by thought, word, and action. No one can take them away from you. And you don’t need anybody’s approval but your own in order to have certain values. 

If you haven’t identified your own values and beliefs yet, a great exercise to begin exploring them is to write down six to ten of the most important things in your life right now. Investigate what you care about. Notice the commonalities between these things to locate and understand their inner value.

For example, if you included your sister and your mother on this list, one of your values could be family. If you listed getting plenty of sleep and exercising every day, one of your values could be self-care. 

When you feel lost and out of alignment, go back to this exercise and do it as many times as you need. Understand what you care about. Get to know your heart on a deeper level. And remember that knowing your values is the same thing as knowing yourself.

Know Your Worth

When life happens and unsettling situations arise (as they always do), knowing your self-worth will be your saving grace.

This doesn’t mean telling yourself you do everything right or believing you’re perfect, but rather affirming that you are imperfect and fully worthy at the same time. Both things can be true at once. 

Knowing your worth improves everything in your life. When you’re deeply aware of your self-worth, you’re able to believe in yourself, have faith in your path, and understand that you are capable of doing truly incredible things. You realize that your potential is limitless. 

You’re able to deeply know that the only validation you need is your own.

If this doesn’t resonate with you, a great exercise to help you realize your self-worth is to ask yourself one question: What are the unique attributes and talents you bring forward on a daily basis?

Start with a list of all the things you’re good at, then expand to include your values, hopes, dreams, likes and dislikes. What are you passionate about? What do you love contributing to the world? What do you appreciate most? 

All of these things make up who you are and your infinite worthiness. 

I promise you that you are unlike anyone else in the most beautiful, precious, and essential ways. Understanding what makes you unique is the key to knowing your true worth. 

A beautiful quote by St. Augustine says, “The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.”

Your truth is your self-worth. You don’t have to defend who you are to this world, and you are not responsible for what others think of you. Your responsibility is to live in a way that adheres to your inner values and beliefs. 

Live your truth. It will defend itself.

Did this article help you in any meaningful way? Take the Genius quiz now to continue your growth.

Start quiz now


By using this site, you agree to our privacy policy.