5 Ways to Validate Yourself: Be Part of Your Support System
Let’s face it – we’ve all been at a point in our lives when we just wanted to be acknowledged for being a good person. I’m not talking the “reality star ‘Look at ME’ version that’s become so prevalent. Rather, just knowing that you have meaning. At those times we seek validation from anyone – a parent, friend, colleague, a perfect stranger…ANYONE. I’ll bet if you’re like most people the one person who you never think of at these times is YOU. After all, nobody knows you better than you. Your opinion, I would argue, matters most of all.
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ~Louise L. Hay
We all have techniques we depend on to lift our spirits when we’re feeling down about ourselves or our lives.
A while back I realized something about the ones I’d found most effective when struggling to forgive or accept myself: Many of them involved seeking validation from other people.
Some of my most effective mood-boosters included:
- Reading emails from readers who’d benefitted from my writing
- Calling people I loved and reminding myself of how much they valued me
- Sharing my experiences and recognizing through the resultant conversations that I wasn’t alone with my feelings and struggles
These are all perfectly valid approaches to feeling better, but they all hinge on praise and external support.
Getting help from others is only one part of the equation. We also need to be able to validate, support, and help ourselves.
I’ve come up with a few ideas to create a little more balance in my support system, making myself a more central part of it.
1. Make a “you” section in your daily gratitude journal.
Of course this assumes you already keep a gratitude journal to recognize and celebrate all the good things in your day. If you don’t, you can still take a few minutes every day to give yourself some credit.
Note down the things you’ve done well, the choices you’ve made that you’re proud of, the progress you’ve made, and even the things that required no action at all. When you regularly praise yourself, self-validation becomes a habit you can depend on when you need it the most.
2. Before seeking external validation, ask yourself, “What do I hope that person tells me?” Then tell it to yourself.
Odds are you aren’t always looking for someone’s advice or opinion when you come to them with a painful story. Essentially, you’re looking for someone else to see the best in you and believe in you. Give yourself what you’re seeking from them before making that call. Then by all means, make it if you want to.
The goal isn’t to stop reaching out to others. It’s to also be there for yourself. Do that first.
The words you want to hear from someone else will be far more powerful if you fully believe what they’re saying.
3. Recognize when you’re judging your feelings.
Get in the habit of telling yourself, “I have a right to feel how I feel.” This will help you understand your feelings and work through them much more easily, because you won’t be so deeply embedded in negativity about yourself.
Once you’ve accepted your feelings, you’ll then be free to seek support for the actual problem—not your self-judgement about having to deal with it.
4. See yourself as the parent to the child version of you.
I know this one might sound odd—bear with me! Many of us didn’t receive the type of love, support, and kindness we needed growing up, and this may have taught us to treat ourselves harshly and critically.
When you’re looking for that warm, fuzzy feeling that emerges when someone you trust tells you, “Everything is going to be okay,” imagine yourself saying it to your younger self.
Picture that little kid who tried so hard, meant no harm, and just wanted to be loved and cherished. This will likely help in deflating your self-criticism and fill you a genuine sense of compassion for yourself.
Once again, this doesn’t need to be an alternative to seeking compassion from others; it just provides a secure foundation from which you’ll be better able to receive that.
5. Get in the habit of asking yourself, “What do I need right now?”
Oftentimes when we’re feeling down on ourselves, we feel a (sometimes subconscious) desire to punish ourselves. When we reject or deprive ourselves in this way, we exacerbate our feelings because we then feel bad about two things: the original incident and the pain we’re causing ourselves.
If you’re feeling down, or down on yourself, ask yourself: “What does my body need? What does my mind need? What does my spirit need?” Or otherwise expressed: What will make you feel better, more stable, healthier, and more balanced?
You may find that you need to take a walk to feel more energized, take a nap to feel better rested, practice deep breathing to clear your head, or drink some water to hydrate yourself.
This is validating yourself in action. Whenever you address your needs, you reinforce to yourself that they are important, regardless of whatever you did or didn’t do previously.
When I stopped judging myself, I remembered all the experiences that helped shape my critical inner voice. It wasn’t a sign of weakness that I needed to put in some effort; it was a sign of strength that I was willing to do it.
It’s one of life’s great ironies, that it feels so natural to feel bad about feeling bad. All this does is keep us stuck. When we stop blaming ourselves for having room to grow, we’re free to focus our energy on doing it.
These aren’t meant to be the only ways of validating oneself but it’s a pretty good start. You may find that something else entirely works best for you. Whatever that happens to be, remind yourself to keep doing it. You are important and worthwhile. People have become quite self-absorbed these days so waiting for someone else for validation is an exercise in futility. If it comes, great. If not then be your own raving fan. You’re worth it.
To read the entire article: http://tinyurl.com/owboc23
About Rick Binder, CFT, CES
Rick Binder, CFT, CES is an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer in San Diego, CA. In addition he is an NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist, a Certified TRX Instructor and he holds a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Hapkido Blend. He has trained groups and individuals to improve their level of fitness and self confidence. For information, rates or to schedule training sessions you can reach him directly at 818-324-0462 or at firstname.lastname@example.org