It’s typical to have had childhood needs that were not satisfied, but that doesn’t necessarily lead to a need for validation from others.
When we venture out into an independent life, we’re confronted by endless opportunities to learn how to satisfy our needs and desires, even those that were not satisfied by the people who raised us.
That’s a good thing, provided you take advantage of those opportunities. Those people (or that person) that raised you did you a favor by not satisfying all your needs because it helped develop a desire within you to learn how to satisfy your needs.
The need for external validation is fundamentally the result of not recognizing your built-in human ability to self-validate.
At some point in your life, you learned that experiencing pleasant feelings required getting other people to behave in ways that will “make” you feel good. It’s how we’re conditioned to look at our feelings, but it’s dysfunctional and can lead to all kinds of weird and unwanted behavior.
Our environment — which includes things such as songs we hear, movies we watch, conversations we encounter, etc. — reinforces the belief that to feel good, we must look outside ourselves. We find ourselves saying things like, “he made me angry” or “she made me feel good” or “you make me happy”.
What’s usually missing from all of that is the awareness that even though outside conditions can influence our feelings, we each are causing ourselves to feel what we feel through our perspectives and interpretations of conditions and situations.
Stop Justifying It
So, how do you overcome the need for validation from others?
First of all, stop using the excuse of what went on in your childhood as a justification for your validation need. In other words, stop telling yourself that you are like this because your childhood needs were unmet.
By using that justification, you disempower yourself in the present, and nothing you do to change your situation will be very effective. Let go of that baggage if you want to move forward.
Own Your Feelings
The second thing is to realize that you are responsible for how you feel. You own your feelings, and no one else can truly “make” you feel your feelings UNLESS you disempower yourself and give that power to others.
If you throw away the recognition that you are responsible for your feelings, then you open yourself up to a reality of being controlled by others and not feeling much happiness in your life. And that feeds on itself the more you practice that disempowering habit. So you must realize you own your feelings.
Become Aware of Your Habit
The third thing is that you must get in the habit of catching yourself when you find yourself engaging in the habit of trying to get validation from others.
When you find yourself doing that, acknowledge what you’re doing and stop yourself by telling yourself that you have the ability to self-validate, that you can make yourself feel what you want to feel, and your happiness relies on you exercising that inner strength.
As you practice developing this new habit, it becomes easier, and eventually — in less time than you may realize — the process will become automatic.
Right now, your habit of disempowering yourself by seeking validation from others is easy and seems to occur naturally; but if you practice your new habit of empowering yourself, that will in time take the place of your bad habit of disempowering yourself.