Seeking Validation from others has become a disease today and it’s spreading like wildfire. With social media platforms dominating our lives, we constantly find ourselves seeking approval and validation through likes, comments, and shares. In this blog, you will learn the red flags of seeking validation that you can recognize in yourself and how to stop this behavior in yourself.
Validation-seeking behavior is rooted in the desire to be accepted and approved by others. It stems from your low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence.
When you constantly seek validation from others, you are essentially relying on external sources to justify your self-worth and existence. When in reality, you are worthy because you exist and there’s no validation needed for you to breathe and just be.
But seeking validation makes you feel otherwise. It makes you dependent on others to justify your existence. This can create a cycle of seeking approval and leave you feeling inadequate when it is not received.
In this article, you will explore the possible signs of seeking validation and how you can overcome them. We will also talk about the psychology behind seeking validation and how it can impact our lives.
5 Red Flags that You’re Seeking Validation and How to Break Free from It
Validation is a basic human need. Everyone wants to feel included, accepted, acknowledged, and valued by others. Seeking validation is a natural part of the human experience, but when it becomes excessive and starts to define your worth, that is when you should stop it.
Seeking validation from others, the desire to be liked and loved by everyone, and measuring your worth with likes has become very easy today. The urge to compare your life with the next post you see on your Instagram has created a vicious loop of negativity in your mind.
The number of likes you receive on a post has become a measure of your worth and popularity. But this constant need for validation is impacting your overall well-being in the most negative ways. The sole need to seek people’s approval is detrimental to your mental and emotional well-being.
The Negative Impact of Seeking Validation
The constant need for validation from others impacts your mental health negatively. When your self-worth starts depending on the validation of others, you become vulnerable to feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and depression. This creates an unhealthy dependency on external sources for your whole existence, which is so wrong to even think of.
When you continuously seek other’s opinions you are also exposing yourself to a fear of rejection and a reluctance to take risks or express your true selves. This hinders your personal growth and stifles your creativity. Hence, it’s important to recognize the negative impact of seeking validation and take steps to break free from this cycle.
Before you learn the signs and steps to overcome this cycle of validation, let’s understand the psychology behind seeking approval from others and living your life off it.
What Causes Validation Seeking?
The need for validation stems from a deep-rooted fear of rejection and a desire for acceptance. It is often rooted in childhood experiences where our self-esteem is shaped by the approval or disapproval of our parents, elders, or caregivers. Because we learned that our worth was contingent on external validation from authority figures such as parents or teachers. As we grow older, we continue to seek validation as a way to justify our own self-worth.
Seeking validation becomes a coping mechanism to protect ourselves from feelings of inadequacy and exclusion. However, this reliance on external validation perpetuates a cycle of seeking approval which leaves you always feeling unsatisfied or unfulfilled.
Now that we’ve understood why the need for approval arises, let’s look at the red flags of seeking validation that you might be possessing and how you can break free from them.
5 Red Flags That You May Be Seeking Validation
There are several telltale signs that indicate you may be seeking validation from others. You can point them out in yourself. Let’s understand them one by one:
1. Constantly Seeking External Approval
One of the most common signs of seeking validation is constantly seeking external approval. You find yourself constantly seeking reassurance and approval for your actions and decisions, whether it’s through seeking compliments, approval, or recognition for your achievements.
You rely on others’ opinions to substantiate your opinions, and their confirmation becomes the sole determinant of your happiness and success. You also feel a sense of disappointment or self-doubt when others do not validate or acknowledge your achievements.
This constant need for external validation can be exhausting and unhealthy. It leaves you vulnerable to the opinions and judgments of others. It prevents you from developing a strong sense of self.
Breaking this cycle starts with recognizing that your worth does not depend on the approval of others. Your value as a person is inherent. You are valuable and enough just as you are. You don’t need to be validated by external sources.
If you feel unsatisfied with yourself or your life then work towards improving those aspects of your life but don’t depend on others to do it for you. I started building my skillset because I wanted to build my life.
2. Feeling Inadequate Without Validation
Your next red flag of seeking validation is feeling inadequate without it. You believe that without the validation and approval of others, you are not enough. You are always on the hunt for the next person to validate how you look, how you feel, and how you do things in life.
This approach creates a scarcity mindset where you limit and box yourself to other people’s opinions and perspectives. It can also lead to a constant sense of insecurity and self-doubt where you never feel good about yourself.
To break this cycle, it’s important to develop a sense of self-worth that is independent of external validation. Remind yourself of your strengths, accomplishments, and values.
Instead of constantly molding yourself according to other’s wishes, focus on self-acceptance and self-love. I was called names by my friends for being a healthy, chubby girl. As a teenager, it affected me so much that I used to walk while holding my breath so that they couldn’t notice my stomach bulges.
Today when I look back to my teenage self I feel sad for her. I wish I had known as a teenager that this validation is absolutely needless in life. I feel sad about how society’s beauty standards forced me to think I wasn’t enough and that I needed to be skinny to feel accepted and loved.
While my teenage self had a hard time accepting herself, as a young woman in her later 20s I learned every day to not let others define me. I learn every day how to not let the beauty standards force me to fix myself in a box.
If you feel inadequate in any manner for being your authentic self, then please know there is no end to this validation and approval. So, let it rest. Give yourself a break and learn to fall in love with yourself, especially with the part of you that the world makes you feel is not appropriate. Because they are. Because you are.
3. Sacrificing Personal Values For Validation
One of the most dangerous red flags of seeking validation is sacrificing your personal values for the sake of approval. You may engage in people-pleasing behavior, always trying to please others and avoid conflict. These signs indicate a reliance on external validation to feel good about yourself.
You compromise your authenticity and integrity to please others and gain their approval. This not only erodes your sense of self, but also leads to feelings of guilt, resentment, and unhappiness.
To break this cycle, it’s essential to prioritize your own values and beliefs. Be true to yourself and stand up for what you believe in, even if it means facing criticism or rejection.
This is one thing that I am actually proud of. I have learned to navigate people pleasing. My late teenage and early 20s were all about making life choices according to others. For most of my life, I was choosing careers that people decided for me.
I scored above 90% in middle school, people hyped me up. They said I’d become a doctor. I chose medical subjects in high school. And it screwed me up to no limits. I never felt like myself in high school, I was always under the burden of scoring well.
Results? I barely passed my high school. I didn’t clear any of those medical entrance exams. I didn’t get admission to the medical colleges and I was a huge disappointment to my parents.
Then, I decided to not let this failure impact my life. I chose literature for college, I felt good about it, and that has led me here today. Not only do I feel good doing what I do, but I also know that it’s leading somewhere unlike high school when I was just living off of people’s opinions and advice on how to crack that medical exam.
Remember, your worth is not determined by how others perceive you, but by your own integrity and authenticity.
While failures may put you down, you have to continue finding yourself without giving up on your hopes and dreams. Because life always has a better plan as long as you don’t stop fighting for yourself.
4. Relying on Others for Self-Worth
The next red flag of seeking validation is relying on others for your self-worth. You base your self-esteem and self-confidence on external validation, and without it, you feel lost and insecure. This can create a never-ending cycle where you constantly want others to validate your emotions and feelings.
Breaking this cycle requires developing a strong sense of self-worth that is not dependent on others. Cultivate self-compassion, self-acceptance, and self-confidence. Learn to self-advocate. Empower yourself with your uniqueness. Recognize your own strengths and achievements, and celebrate every small win down the road.
When I learned about my zeal for being a writer, when I discovered my love for writing, it took me 4 long years to accept and actually pursue it as a career.
Before that, I was always struggling in college to figure out what next. Again, there was so much advice from others. From taking up a teaching career to becoming a civil servant, there was lots of conventional advice around me.
It took me a whole pandemic to figure out that being a writer was my true calling and I’d want to build something of my own someday. This is how I began my journey of being a freelance writer in 2020 which has led me here today.
Remember, you are the only person who can truly validate your worth. Everything else is just unneeded noise that you need to cut through to find your true calling in life.
5. Fear of Criticism and Rejection
Fear of criticism and rejection is another sign that you may be seeking validation. You are terrified of what others may think of you, and you go to great lengths to avoid criticism or rejection. This fear holds you back from expressing yourself authentically and living the life you truly want.
To break this cycle, it’s important to reframe your mindset around criticism and rejection. Instead of seeing them as personal attacks, view them as opportunities for growth and learning.
Ever since I started working on this blog and my YouTube channel, I have received so many messages where people tell me how I inspire them. But, they always come with a pinch of salt as they also include some constructive feedback.
With time and experience as a writer, I have learned to acknowledge that constructive feedback is important to grow in life. It helps to keep your progress in check.
So, embrace constructive criticism and use it to improve yourself. Remember, the opinions of others do not define your worth or determine your path in life. But, when advice comes from the people you want to cater to, then you shouldn’t let it go unnoticed.
How to Stop Seeking Validation?
Breaking free from the need for validation requires a lot of inner work. It doesn’t happen overnight. It requires everyday efforts and small upgrades in your mindset to unlock this next level of living life.
Here are 4 ways in which you can stop seeking validation from others:
1. Self-Reflection and Awareness
Start by recognizing that seeking validation from others is an endless pursuit that will never end and bring true happiness. So, instead of relying on outside factors to feel fulfilled the right path is to cultivate acceptance within yourself.
Break the validation cycle with self-reflection and awareness. Identify your values, passions, and strengths. Embrace your uniqueness and accept yourself fully, with your flaws. Remind yourself that you are worthy of love and acceptance, regardless of what others may think or say.
Take the time to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors surrounding seeking validation. Identify the patterns and triggers that lead you to seek validation from others. By becoming aware of these patterns, you can begin to change them.
2. Building Self-Confidence and Self-Worth
Building self-confidence and self-worth starts with recognizing your own value and worthiness. Practice your self-care activities. Focus on your strengths, achievements, and values. Set realistic goals and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem.
Surround yourself with the power of positivity and supportive people who uplift and encourage you. Engage in tasks that make you feel good about yourself. Perform activities to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone.
True validation comes from within. Breaking free from the need for validation requires you to build a growth mindset and commit to self-acceptance. These are conscious decisions that you make to not only improve your life but also feel fulfilled while doing it.
3. Cultivating Authentic Relationships and Connections
Instead of seeking validation from a wide audience, focus on cultivating authentic relationships and connections. Surround yourself with people who appreciate and accept you for who you are.
Keep your circle small. You don’t need a crowd of people to feel happy and loved. Only a few, important people are enough to make you feel that. Choose a partner who uplifts you. Seek out people who support your goals and dreams without judgment or criticism. Nurture these relationships and prioritize quality over quantity.
Cultivate friendships and connections with people who appreciate and accept you for who you are. Seek out mentors and role models who inspire and uplift you. Surround yourself with positive influences that can help you build a strong sense of self-worth and reduce the need for external validation.
4. Seeking Professional Help If Needed
If you find that seeking validation is significantly impacting your mental and emotional well-being, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide guidance and support as you navigate through the process of breaking the validation cycle. They can help you identify underlying issues and develop strategies for building self-worth and self-acceptance.
Seeking validation is a natural part of the human experience, but when it becomes excessive, it can wreak havoc in your life. This is a never-ending journey that will never lead to true happiness.
By recognizing these red flags of seeking validation and implementing the mentioned strategies to break the cycle, you can learn to live authentically. Remember, you are enough just as you are. Embrace your uniqueness and celebrate your true self.
Start building your confidence by engaging in work that causes you discomfort. Because that is how you grow in life. Instead of running behind validation from others, build validation from within.
I know all this is easier said than done but it’s doable. I have done it myself and I continue to do it every single day in some or the other way. So improve yourself because you want to become a better version of yourself, not because others will like you for it.
The right people will stay beside you despite your shortcomings and those are the people you should be looking up to.
With that said, I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. If you learned something new from it then make sure you share it with a friend who might be on the same train of seeking validation as we all are, in some or the other way.
I’ll talk to you soon again with my next read.