Too often, we seek external validation from other people in the form of compliments, strong, positive reactions, or just a nod of approval. Let’s be honest, a lot of us get a significant buzz when we gain the social approval of others by way of breaking one hundred likes on an Instagram selfie, our husband’s compliment on our date night ensemble, or getting invited to a social gathering. But is it possible that our self-esteem is contingent upon external validation? If our parents all of a sudden stopped telling us they’re proud of us, if our spouses stopped calling us “beautiful,” or if we no longer got invited to parties, would our self-confidence still be as strong as it was before? Or will we feel less valued?
In such a social world, it’s easy to give our peers the freedom to make us feel confident about ourselves. But the question is, do we have enough internal validation? Do we know how to find and maintain that same acceptance within ourselves to the point where we don’t need the validation of others? Here are some ways to seek internal validation and tap into that unshakeable confidence.
KNOW YOUR TALENTS AND STRENGTHS
Everyone comes into this world with a set of talents and special abilities. We all have gifts that set us apart. But at some point in life, whether it was in our past or now, we have tried to mimic admirable people who we thought were more interesting than us. We have looked at their talents and wished that we had them ourselves while disregarding our own. The thing is, we cannot undermine our talents because there are many people who would love to have your abilities; they are trying to learn something that comes so naturally for you! Our worth is not defined by what we wear, where we live, who we hang out with, what our bank accounts look like, or what our socioeconomic status is. What gives us our worth is what we put out to the world through our gifts and talents. No talent or gift is greater than the next; they are all equally worthy of contributing to the world. There are people who are waiting on you to use your gift.
COMPARE YOURSELF TO YOURSELF
Too often, we compare ourselves to the next person to see if we measure up: “Am I as pretty as she is? As talented? As successful? As sophisticated? Or as intelligent?” Comparison is a confidence vampire, sucking up all the self-esteem we may have already had. There is something so priceless about being yourself. You were designed with divine intentions, with a purpose that no one can fulfill but you. Trying to be “better” than the next person isn’t worth it. The only person to be greater than is the person you were yesterday.
KEEP A JOURNAL
Do you enjoy journaling? This exercise will help you seek internal validation like no other! Even if you don’t like journaling, doing so will give you great self-revelations. Keep a journal of the things you’ve accomplished daily, what you believe you’ve done well that day, or any personal victories or things you’ve overcome. Make your entries exclusively about yourself and write down how you felt when you made those accomplishments. They don’t have to be major (“job promotion”); they can be minor, such as trying a new recipe or breaking a new personal record at the gym. Also, as you write your accomplishment, write down how proud you are of yourself, and don’t hold back on giving yourself credit. Write, “Go ’head, girl!” if you need to! Looking back on your journal entries—and even writing them down—will give you a boost of inner confidence and strength, mainly because you are the one telling yourself these things instead of other people.
LIVE LIFE THE WAY YOU FEEL LED
In this particular culture, we are expected to live our best lives at parties, concerts, and other thrill-seeking activities. But some of us are more introverted and enjoy a quiet time with a good novel or Netflix. The key to happiness and fulfillment is to enjoy life the way we see fit, not how we are expected to enjoy it.
In what ways will you seek internal validation for 2020?