Episode 24: Validation

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So many of us seek Validation from others and outside sources. After all, seeking outside approval is a pretty common human trait. At a very deep level, we all have a need to be seen, heard, recognized, understood, valued, and loved. We need to know if we’re going to be okay if who we are and what we’re doing is okay. But problems arise when we hire out those needs to others. In this episode, learn how to have your own back, get what you want, and be able to fill your emotional bucket.

I’m Hannah Coles, and you are listening to the Confidence Catalyst Podcast

Episode 23: Validation

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Alright, let’s dive into our topic today, Validation. I never realized what a huge impact learning about Validation would have on my life but whoa. I’m going to venture that a lot of you are the same and if this is new, prepare to be mindblown. 

So many of us are starving to feel like their enough. They buy into their self-critical, self-loathing track and they just feel awful, low, and worthless. 

Do you recognize any of these thoughts?

Listen to these thoughts and see if you recognize any of them from your own inner tack.

1.) I’m not enough

2.) I’m not doing enough

3.) I’m so fat

4.) I’m not pretty enough

5.) I’m too much

6.) I’m weird

7.) I’m different

8.) I’m not fun

9.) There’s something wrong with me

10.) I’m not smart enough

11.) I’m not really good at anything

12.) People don’t like me

13.) I’m not the bestie type, I’d like a bestie but people don’t want me as a bestie

14.) I’m nothing special

15.) I’m not good enough

Recognize any of those? I can relate, a lot of these could have been taken straight from my own brain before I found these tools. It’s not super fun, right? In fact, thinking, believing this thought just creates a terrible, guilt, shame ridden experience and a lot of us don’t know how to move beyond this space. I’m going to help you out with this today because what I didn’t know then but I certainly do now, is that all of those thoughts and more are entirely optional. There is freedom ahead, friends.

The ever present critic

Now I will say that we’re not always living from that negative space. Happiness is intermingled in there too but that vicious voice never strays too far away. It’s ever-present and ready to pounce anytime you start to feel good about yourself. It’s there just to put you back in your place as if you forgot somehow. 

Not likely, but it’s there, all the same, doing its job so efficiently.

We have a need but how do you fill it?

But here’s the problem, we all have a genuine, human need for Validation, for praise, recognition, affirming that we’re okay, that we’re on the right track, that we’re enough. When you’re in that space, living with a self-critical tyrant, it’s next to impossible to validate yourself. So where do you go? 

To others, to the outside to get this need met. Approval, compliments, assurance seem to feel amazing and a lot of the time we do this completely unconsciously. We don’t realize what we’re doing or what we’re seeking but there’s a deep-seeded believe that truly thinks that if other people like you, approve of you, agree with you, or validates you then you could feel about yourself too.

I was sitting in a class once where the teacher made this comment that floored me, 

she said, “It’s not like I’m going to tell myself I didn’t such a great lesson!” And everyone in the room nodded and you heard the general voicing of agreement, like, “yeah, that’s crazy talk! We can’t actually like what we’re doing.” But how many times after you put something out there, a talk, a presentation, a performance, a class, anything and you’re looking for someone to comment, someone to say, “hey, that was amazing, thank you for that”? 

In the end we just want to know we’re okay

Right? We just want to know that we’re okay. That what we did, who we are is enough. If no one says anything, whoa…The inner chatter is loud when that happens. It’s doubting, it’s questioning, it’s worrying, it’s critical. “I knew I didn’t prepare enough. I knew I shouldn’t have said that I’m terrible, that was terrible. I’m not good at this. No one likes it.” And on and on and on…we replay what happened, we pick it apart and all the while, we feel shame, guilt, fear, and insecurity.

We have this misconception that if we like what we did, what we created, who we are that we’re being prideful and self-centered but this is far from the truth. You’re more self-centered and focused when you’re approval seeking from others.

Most of us don’t really want all the lavished praise, we just want to feel better. We want to stop hating ourselves, criticizing ourselves. We just want to be enough, to feel like we’re accepted, like we’re doing okay.

We want to “make people happy” or have people like us, agree with us, complement us because if they did we think things would be easier, we would only have to contend with our own self-critical inner track and we could just keep going back to them to get a sugar rush.

Compliments are like Candy

 Complements or outside praises really is like a sugar rush or a candy bar. It’s this instant, feel good rush. Depending on what they said, or who said it you might feel pretty excited but then, like candy, there’s the crash. There’s the moment when you run out of belief in that compliment and then your  inner mean girl is there again and you’re left feeling worse than you did before so a lot of the time trying to seek MORE external validation to keep that feeling going.

We ask questions trying to prompt others to say what we need to hear so that we can feel better but it never works because you’re trying to hire them to fix a hole that they have no access to, a hole they don’t know even exists. 

So here’s the problems with seeking outside Validation, you’re asking them to provide you with a thought or thoughts that you can think so that you can feel good or at least not bad about yourself. You need them to say something that you can believe so that you can feel better, worthy even. 

Looking for proof?

And when they do you try it on, it feels good because you have evidence, proof that, see? THEY said it, they think this so I must have done a good job, I must be okay, I’m worthy. But then it fades, really quickly and it’s gone again. All those compliments are just being poured into a bucket full of holes because you haven’t addressed or fixed the underlying beliefs about yourself yet that created the holes in the first place.

Nothing they say or do will give you what you want because they can’t. All the love, praise, Validation, acceptance in the world won’t fill your bucket and make you whole because it can’t. It’s an inside job. It has to come from you. You have to work on the inner vessel so that when you do get compliments – or thoughts to try on, which is what they really are you can decide if you want to keep them or not and you can start filling your own emotional bucket. 

Fill the hole

And here’s where we run into the most common problem, the holes, fixing and filling our own holes. Most of us don’t really know what the holes are or how to fill them. And this is where your work begins. You have to become aware of this validation bug peeking its head out and gnawing away at your bucket, creating the holes in the first place. You do this by noticing when and where it pops up. You have to be constantly vigilant watching yourself and your thoughts so that you can spot the need.

I’ll help you out with this and give you some common places it pops up and then I’ll help you understand how to fill those holes. 

Common Holes

1.) Notice when someone disagrees with you how you take it. Do you automatically make it mean something about yourself? That all your subconscious efforts have failed because they don’t approve of you, of your thoughts, of your actions. Do you get defensive over little things that sometimes even have absolutely nothing to do with you? 

2.) How about people-pleasing and saying yes to things when you really want to say no but you don’t want to upset them or be seem contrary. They might not like you then and this fear of rejection, having them not understand you, thinking that maybe they’ll be mad at you is too much to bear so you instead run yourself ragged and then inevitably feel resentful towards these commitments and yourself for not being able to stand up for yourself yet again.

3.) Do you pretend to know something when you don’t? When people are talking and they say, “you know what I’m talking about, right?” And you nod your head but inside you’re like, “please don’t ask me any questions because I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about but I don’t want ask because then I’ll look stupid and they might not like me anymore or they’ll see me in a negative light.” Thus perpetuating the approval-seeking cycle.

4.) Do you worry about your outer appearance to the point of constantly checking in the mirror to make sure your make up is just so, constantly adjusting your clothing, changing your posture to give you the best outward appearance? 

5.) Judging others is a big one that actually masks your own need for validation and approval. If you’re judging others, the spotlight is on them – especially talking about someone with another person. You judge, criticize them and wait to hear the other persons opinion and then you insert yourself in there, “I’d never do that” and then you subtly wait for them to agree with you or offer Validation. “oh I know, you’re always so great”. This is a really sneaky one because you’re using others as a tool to inadvertently make yourself feel better and approved of, and in the end worthy and accepted.

Other areas it pops up in

There’s so many more areas where our approval-seeking inserts itself, chasing after accolades and awards because if you had the gold star then others can’t judge you, they have to approve of you. Or the perfectionist that avoids failure at all costs because if they’re perfect then there’s no room for judgment, just praise. There’s when you change who you are and how you show up based on who you’re around to fit in and feel accepted and approved of. Or when you do everything people ask of you because you just want everyone to be happy. If you’re nice to them, if you serve them then they’ll like you, then they’ll approve of you, then you’ll feel better.

Do you notice a pattern in all of these cases? At the end of all of it we act in these ways simply so we can feel better about ourselves. We’re jumping through a lot of hoops to get to what we really want and playing all kinds of games when all of it is unnecessary and lacking.

So how can we get there? How can we fill those holes? How can we get to a space where our primary source of approval, Validation, acceptance comes from within?

Compliments are thoughts you can adopt

Remember what a compliment is? Just a thought they’re offering to you but it’s fleeting because you don’t believe it entirely yet. You have to offer yourself believable thoughts to start believing and thinking about yourself that create the feelings you crave.

Thoughts create our feelings.

In each of those examples, people-pleasing, taking things personally – visualize in your head what the ideal situation would look like. We logically know that people have differing opinions and that’s all fine until it’s directed at us so what would the ideal look like to you? What would they say? How would they say it? What would you want them to say?

Really think about that and then notice when they say that (in your visual) how you feel. Do you feel better? Do you feel approved of? Do you feel validated?

These are the thoughts that YOU need to offer YOU. You don’t need them from the other person, you need to give them to yourself. And it’s okay if you’re not there yet, if you know what you want to hear but you can’t believe it yet, there’s a way to get there.

Okayness is a good place

The first step is just knowing what the need is, what you’d want to hear to feel okay and validated, then the next step is paving the way to get there for yourself.

If you can’t get to positive about yourself yet just get to neutral. If believing that you’re worthy isn’t an option yet, believe that you’re human. Get to okay. Okayness is out of negativity and one step closer to positivity.

Talk to your inner you all the time. Instead of just taking commands and harshness from that inner critic, start talking to her. Although she may seem loud, I promise, you’re louder. You get to call the shots, you get to direct where the focus goes. Notice all the things you do and think, high five all of them. You don’t need approval from others when you can give it to yourself.

Have your own back

Allow yourself to have a voice, an opinion. It’s okay to say no, it’s actually imperative that you listen and say no when you can’t wholly say yes. Listening to yourself, having your own back, establishes support and trust, two things we tend to hire out and end up feeling lacking. If you give it to yourself you don’t have to live in scarcity or worry that you won’t be okay, you’ve got you, you’re okay.

The more you learn to approve of yourself, the less you need it from others. The more you compliment yourself the more you create the feeling you need. Compliments are still great because they offer you different thoughts but the weight, the meat of it comes from you and what you’ll believe.

If you like other complimenting you because of the evidence it provides, give that to yourself. Give your brain the job of looking for evidence to prove you’re worthy, to prove that you’re doing a good job, to prove that you’re okay.

What you really want is a feeling

When people disagree with you it won’t rock you if you’ve got your own back. You just need someone to approve of you and your thoughts and who better to do that than YOU? It has to be you. You’re the only one that can create what you really want, which is a FEELING. You want to feel accepted, to feel okay and that only comes from you.

Your thoughts, opinions, preferences are valid. They’re important to listen to, to honor, and cultivate. Anytime you find yourself seeking approval from others, stop and notice the need, and then give yourself what you need.

It’s the only way to fix those holes and to fill your own bucket. 

Let me give you one example of how I do this for myself. We had a family gathering once and we knew we couldn’t stay the whole time but we also knew the host would be upset by this because they voiced that opinion before. So not wanting to people please or say yes to staying when we knew we needed to say no we decided to try and compromise. We couldn’t stay late but we could go early. We asked if that was something they wanted and they said yes, come over.

Well when we got there the host was visibly upset, angry even and it seem very directed at me. At first I was upset too just mirroring their emotions and I wanted to judge and I wanted to complain to my husband so that I could feel validated and approved of and at the end of it, okay, right? See how sneaky that need shows up?

So instead of doing that because that just puts masking tape on the holes but the holes are still there and it’s not giving me what I really need. So I visualized the scene. I thought about why this was a problem for me, I thought about what I would want them to say, to notice. 

Before reacting just dig deeper – what’s the problem?

I wanted them to notice what an ordeal it took to get there. We had younger kids at the time and it was a feat just getting out the door at all. 

I wanted them to appreciate the thoughtfulness behind the compromise. That we didn’t have to try at all but we did because we love them.

I wanted them to know and trust that we always try to do what’s best and right and aren’t passive-aggressive and when we say we can’t stay just to know that we would if we could. 

So in my mind I did all the leg work for what I really wanted and needed. I wanted understanding, I wanted appreciation, I wanted gratitude for my efforts because you know it’s a lot of the mama doing the brunt of the work, I wanted to feel loved. 

I actually thought of the exact words I would want them to say, “thank you for coming, I know it’s hard for you to get out of the house with the kids, the gifts, the food, all that preparation. I’m just so glad you’re here.”

And I said that to myself.

Tell yourself everything you need to hear

I told myself how thoughtful that was to even think of a compromise at all. We didn’t have to, we could have just not shown up at all but because of who I am, I wanted to offer that. So I thanked myself for that. I appreciated my character and kindness.

I told myself that I understand that it’s hard during this season to be at everything. I told myself that I knew that tough decisions needed to be made and I knew that you’d stay longer if you could. I’m just glad you’re here at all.

Thank you for coming, thank you for all you do, you’re awesome.

I had that whole conversation in my head and you know what? It felt amazing. I wasn’t angry anymore. They could be upset, they could disagree, they could not understand, they could make their villain and I could still be okay because my needs were met. I was taken care of, I had my own back.

I’ve practiced this for years now and have gotten really good at it and amazingly enough the more you practice this the more approval appears. 

Amazing times are coming

There’s a quote I like from, Mandy Hale. She says,

“An amazing thing happens when you stop seeking approval and Validation: You find it. People are naturally drawn like magnets to those who know who they are and cannot be shaken!”

Give yourself what you want and most especially what you need. Look inward. Everything you’re missing is inside of you. You are the catalyst for that change. It’s not outside, it’s never outside. It’s within and you can do this friends. 

Don’t forget to check out the membership site. This is something we talk a lot about, especially this month while we’re working on confidence. If you sign up this month you’ll get the class and worksheets and bonus goodies for September but once September passes you’ll never be able to get access to that class so don’t wait, join today and start creating a life of confidence and genuine love and approval for yourself.

Okay, talk to you next week everyone!


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