5 Red Flags that You’re Seeking Validation and How to Break Free from it

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Social media has made seeking validation a need today. It’s a disease that spreading like wildfire. Most people use social media to flaunt a life they are not living. They are seeking approval in the form of likes, comments, and shares. Today, we are discussing the red flags that scream “validation seeker” to help you stop from becoming one. 

If you are someone who feels the need for validation, you should know that behavior is rooted in your desire to be accepted and approved by others. This shows that you need to work a lot on your self-esteem and self-confidence. 

When you constantly seek validation from others, you are essentially relying on justifying your self-worth. You want them to give meaning to your existence. 

When in reality, you are worthy just as you are. You are worth everything because you exist and there’s no external validation needed for you to just be. 

But seeking validation makes you feel otherwise. 

Other people praise you or make you feel superior of yourself. You thrive on such futile attention. 

This can create a cycle of seeking approval and leave you feeling inadequate when it is not received.

In this blog, you will explore the possible signs of seeking validation that you might be missing in yourself. I will also share how you can overcome them. 

Finally, 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. 

While seeking validation is a natural part of the human experience, it becomes a matter of concern when you start associating and defining your worth through 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 Instagram has created a vicious loop of negative self-talk.  

The number of likes you receive on a post has become a measure of your value and popularity as an individual. 

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 highly detrimental to your mental health.


The Negative Impact of Seeking Validation

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. This is how seeking validation from others has a negative impact on you. 

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 harmful 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 Does it Mean If You Crave Validation?  

Your need for validation and approval from others comes from your childhood trauma that gives wind to your deep-rooted fears of being neglected. It stems from an old-age desire for acceptance. 

This validation-seeking behavior comes from your childhood experiences because that is when the approval or disapproval of your parents, elders, or caregivers shapes your self-esteem. 

Because in childhood, our worth was contingent on external validation from authority figures such as our parents or teachers. 

Growing older, most people continue to seek the same validation as a way to justify their self-worth.

Seeking validation becomes a coping mechanism to protect themselves from feelings of inadequacy and exclusion. 

However, this reliance on seeking validation from people you don’t even like perpetuates a cycle of craving constant approval which leaves them always feeling unsatisfied or unfulfilled in life. 

Now that you have understood why the need for approval arises, let’s look at some signs of seeking validation that you might be possessing


5 Red Flags That You May Be Seeking Validation

There are many red flags that can easily 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 approval from others. 

You find yourself constantly reassuring your actions and decisions, whether it’s through wanting compliments or recognition for your achievements. 

You rely on others’ opinions to substantiate your perspectives, 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.

signs of seeking validation

This constant need for external validation can be both exhausting and unhealthy. It leaves you vulnerable to other’s opinions and judgments. 

It prevents you from developing a strong sense of self and building your personality. 

To break this cycle, start by 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 others to give you a green signal for each of your thoughts or feelings. 

If you feel unfulfilled, work towards your self-improvement by investing in yourself. But don’t depend on others to do it for you. 

I started building my skillset because I wanted to create my life to my merit. 

This is why I came up with my personal development plan. Now, I wake up each day with something to look forward to working on. This has also given me an independent sense of purpose and belonging.


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 yourself to other people’s opinions and perspectives. It can also make you feel insecure.  

To break this cycle, it’s important to develop a sense of self-worth that is independent of any external validation. Remind yourself of things that make you feel better.

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 realizing her self-worth, as a young woman in her late 20s, I learned every day to not let others define me. 

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 other’s 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 reality 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, unhappiness and even self-hate sometimes. 

To break this cycle, it’s essential to prioritize your own values over those of others. Be true to yourself and stand up for what you believe in, even if it means facing rejection from others. 

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 my 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 in yourself. Learn to self-advocate for yourself. 

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 the 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 facing criticism and rejection is another sign that you may be seeking validation from others. 

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 live.

how to stop seeking validation

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?

If you break free from the need to seek validation, you need to do 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. It will never bring you true happiness. So, instead of relying on outside factors to feel fulfilled, the right path is to cultivate acceptance within yourself.  

To break your validation cycle, spend time in self-reflection and awareness. Identify your values, passions, and strengths. 

Embrace your uniqueness and accept yourself completely, 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 indulge in self-reflection. Analyse 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. Practice your self-care activities

Focus on your strengths, achievements, and positive traits. Set realistic goals and celebrate even your smallest achievements. They motivate you to do better. 

Know yourself enough to what’s good and bad for you. Learn to say no to people, events and experiences that don’t serve you.  

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-discovery. These are conscious decisions you should make to not only improve your life but also feel fulfilled while living it.  

3. Cultivating Authentic Relationships and Connections

Instead of seeking validation from a wide audience, focus on cultivating authentic relationships and connections in your life. Even if it’s a small circle, surround yourself with people who appreciate and accept you for who you are. 

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 making it a huge deal. Nurture these relationships and prioritize quality over quantity in your life.

Cultivate friendships and connections with people who appreciate and love you. Seek out mentors and role models who inspire and uplift you. 


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 you guidance and support as you navigate through the process of breaking the validation cycle. 

They can help you identify the underlying issues and develop strategies for building a strong sense of self within you.


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 fulfilment. 

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. 

Finally, if you loved reading it, you will also enjoy learning why do you get attached so easily.