Here’s how you can break from the vicious cycle of seeking validation from others

Here’s how you can break from the vicious cycle of seeking validation from others

In today's digital age, where social media platforms dominate our lives, the need for validation has become more prevalent than ever before

Luke CoutinhoUpdated: Saturday, July 22, 2023, 07:14 PM IST
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In today's digital age, where social media platforms dominate our lives, the need for validation has become more prevalent than ever before. It seems as though we constantly seek attention, craving the affirmation and appreciation of others. However, this behaviour often stems from low self-esteem and worth, and the worst place to look for validation is in the virtual world of social media, where the majority of individuals are strangers, bots, or fake accounts. 

It begs the question: How can we expect genuine appreciation from people who aren't even real?

Difference between seeking appreciation and validation 

It's important to acknowledge that seeking appreciation and validation is a natural human need. We all desire recognition and reassurance from others, as it reinforces our sense of self-worth and belonging. However, there is a crucial distinction between validation and appreciation. While appreciation is a genuine acknowledgement of our efforts and qualities, validation often involves seeking external confirmation of our worthiness.

The need for validation often arises from underlying issues of low self-esteem and worth. When we lack self-confidence, we seek validation from others to fill that void within ourselves. We look at others to affirm our worth and value, relying on their opinions to validate our existence. This dependency on external validation diminishes our personal power and self-reliance, making us susceptible to the fluctuations of others' opinions.

Unfortunately, social media platforms have become breeding grounds for seeking validation, exacerbating these issues. The virtual world presents an illusion of connection and belonging, where we can easily garner attention and feedback from a wide audience. However, it is essential to recognize that this audience is largely composed of strangers, bots, and fake accounts. These entities do not possess the ability to genuinely appreciate us for who we are.

When we rely on social media for validation, we subject ourselves to a relentless cycle of seeking likes, comments, and shares to validate our self-worth. The constant comparison to others' seemingly perfect lives and curated online personas can lead to feelings of inadequacy and further diminish our self-esteem. We become trapped in a cycle of seeking validation from a platform that is inherently superficial and disconnected from reality.

So, how can we give up the need to feel validated? It begins with shifting our focus inward and cultivating a strong sense of self-worth. 

Here are a few strategies to help break free from the validation-seeking cycle:

Self-reflection: Take the time to understand your values, strengths, and achievements. Reflect on your unique qualities and recognize that your worth does not depend on external validation.

Practice self-acceptance: All of us have strengths and weaknesses. No one is perfect. Embrace your imperfections and understand that they are a part of what makes you unique. Accepting yourself as you are allows you to detach from the need for validation.

Set personal goals: Instead of seeking validation from others, focus on setting personal goals and working towards them. Accomplishing these goals will provide a sense of fulfilment that is independent of external validation.

Stop comparing yourself: We often compare the worst of ourselves with the best of others. An essential aspect of giving up the need for validation is to stop comparing ourselves to others. Constantly comparing ourselves to others only perpetuates feelings of inadequacy and fuels the need for validation. Each person's journey is unique, and measuring our worth based on someone else's achievements or appearance is an unfair and self-destructive practice.

Build self-appreciation: Building self-appreciation is a powerful way to reinforce your sense of self-worth. 

Here’s a self-appreciation exercise for you to try - 

a. Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can relax and focus on yourself.

b. Take a deep breath and centre yourself in the present moment.

c. Record a heartfelt voice note or write a letter to yourself, expressing genuine appreciation for who you are.

d. Mention things you love about yourself, your strengths, your unique qualities, and the progress you've made in life.

e. Speak or write with kindness, compassion, and sincerity, as if you were speaking to a dear friend.

f. Save the voice note or letter and make it easily accessible for future listening or reading.

g. Set aside time regularly to listen to the voice note or read the letter, allowing the words of self-appreciation to seep into your subconscious mind.

h. Pay attention to the positive emotions and feelings that arise as you hear or read your own words of self-appreciation.

i. Repeat this exercise as often as needed, especially during moments when you feel underappreciated or under-acknowledged.

Surround yourself with genuine connections: Cultivate relationships with individuals who appreciate and support you for who you are. Seek out those who offer constructive feedback and celebrate your successes without any ulterior motives.

Limit social media consumption: Recognize the negative impact that excessive social media use can have on your self-esteem. Set boundaries and allocate specific times for engaging with these platforms. Redirect your attention towards activities that promote self-growth and real-life connections.

By giving up the need for validation, we regain our power and take control of our self-worth. We no longer rely on others to define our value but instead recognize the inherent worth within ourselves. Seeking genuine appreciation from those who truly know and understand us becomes far more valuable than the shallow validation of strangers in a virtual world.

In conclusion, seeking validation from others and relying on external sources for our self-worth is a disempowering cycle. Social media, with its predominantly anonymous and artificial presence, is not the place to find genuine appreciation. Instead, we should focus on cultivating self-acceptance, setting personal goals, surrounding ourselves with genuine connections, and limiting social media consumption. By giving up the need for validation, we reclaim our power and embrace our inherent self-worth, living authentically and on our terms.

(Luke Coutinho, Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle – Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, Founder of You Care - All about YOU by Luke Coutinho)

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