Is your need for validation holding you back?

Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul. — Henry van Dyke

The other day I was working on a new plan for next year. I love doing that. Planning, thinking, being creative. I got all excited. I was in the flow.
After some time, the flow wore off and I landed back on earth. With the normal grounding effects of every creator: self-doubt, questions, default settings, need for validation.

I see this so often, not only in myself, but in the most amazing women (and men). We need someone to reassure us that what we came up with is good. That WE are good.

We crave validation: approval, recognition, confirmation, support, affirmation.

We want someone to say:

  • wow this is great!
  • you should totally do this!
  • amazing idea!
  • you are so creative! great! incredible! extraordinary!…

We want someone to tell us to go ahead. We want someone to believe in us. Because somewhere deep down we don’t trust our own judgment, we don’t believe in ourselves enough.

Often people who crave validation grew up in an invalidating environment where they received invalidating messages about themselves. Children who were never really taught to trust their own competency or ability to take care of themselves may grow into adults who look for others to take care of them. Children who grew up in an alcoholic household may have received different, invalidating messages about their self worth from a parent based on his/her mood swings.

Usually self-doubt, negative self-talk or invalidating messages pop up when we try to make changes or try to quit a bad habit.
I know when my default setting kicks in.
If you don’t, then look for themes or patterns when this happens.

What things do you ‘tell yourself’?
Who do you crave validation from? Your partner? Your boss? Your parents? What was their role in validating you when you were a child? How and why is that still true today?

Once you have analyzed the trend, you need to look for ways to get past the craving.
It’s like badly craving that piece of chocolate. What do you do to ‘avoid’ that? What system did you set up not to stuff yourself?

Below is a simple 3 step system to use when you feel the need.

How to Give Yourself Validation

(1) Describe the habit or behavior that you would like to change.

(2) Notice what typical invalidating responses you tend to have:

  • I should be over this by now.  What’s wrong with me?
  • It shouldn’t be this hard.  It’s so easy for other people.
  • I’m just stupid/worthless/lazy.
  • It’s really not a big deal.

(3) Choose a potential validating response that you would like to replace your negative self-talk with:

  • This habit/situation is really hard for me to change/quit.  Just because it’s hard now, doesn’t mean it always will be.
  • I can get past this, but it is going to take time and effort on my part.  I am willing to invest in myself.
  • This habit/situation is very important for me to change.  I am willing to be honest and compassionate toward myself.
  • I am capable of changing my thinking and behaviors.  I just need to keep moving in the right direction.

Here is a very nice and true video on Validation.

Source: Spradlin, S.E. (2003). Don’t let your emotions run your life: How dialectical behavior therapy can put you in control. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc

This entry was posted in Better life, Coaching, Fear, Lists, Psychology, Videos and tagged affirmation, approval, being good, craving, default settings, habit, recognition, self-doubt, support, validating response, validation. Bookmark the permalink.

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