Hellooooo Beautiful Soul!
In this week’s Love Note, I wanted to bring up another one of those incredibly persistent, yet widely accepted self-love saboteurs: needing external validation or approval.
Sometimes after we make a decision or take action, we can get caught in a trap of looking for approval from others to validate what we’ve done.
To be fair, we are conditioned to live in this way. For most of us, it’s our automatic mode.
We can’t help it; it’s how we were brought up.
Positive reinforcement and extrinsic rewards for doing what’s “right” or pleasing others is a widespread practice.
A child pleases a parent and gets kudos for being a good girl or good boy. A teen gets their braces off and suddenly becomes popular. A young executive works late nights, sacrifices a personal life, does the work of colleagues and gets promoted for hard work.
Of course, we want to know we are doing something right and that our hard work is noticed.
But when reinforcement and rewards are misinterpreted as representations of love or worthiness, seeking such external validation interferes with, or can even replace the act of loving ourselves.
If we find ourselves relying on the approval of others, and investing our self-worth in that approval, we are living on shaky ground.
This is a fear-based way of living, and it breeds insecurity.
If what you do feels good to you, then that’s all you really need, regardless of what others think or label you.
Constantly posting selfies on Instagram or Facebook, and then feeling good or bad based on the number of likes we get, is not self-love.
Even if we’re getting million likes, this shouldn’t have anything to do with how we feel about ourselves.
If that is the case, then on a day when nobody gives us the thumbs up, we will find ourselves spiring in unworthiness and more fear.
Fear of rejection, fear of not fitting in, fear of not being liked or loved takes a lot out of a person.
How can anyone really love us, or how can we really love ourselves, when we live in such a precarious state of self?
The more we try to please others, the less we tune in to ourselves and what WE love about ourselves.
We miss opportunities to put forth our gifts to others, contributing to the world in the manner we were designed to.
If we rely on what others think of us to feel good about ourselves, we’ll focus on doing what pleases others rather than what pleases us.
This is not self-love.
We end up creating a false version of ourselves that takes a LOT of energy to uphold, and in the end, leads to a lack of happiness and fulfillment.
If we can learn to to let go of this false self, this self that is not really us, we’ll free up a ton of wasted energy.
When we are in a state of self-love and self-acceptance, we are immune to criticism that comes from someone else’s values or beliefs.
So let’s stop evaluating our value based on what other people do or do not say about us. Look inward.
Have the strength to do what pleases you, what feels right in your gut. Contribute to the world in the ways that feel right, especially given your own specific gifts.
That’s how we can start undermining this saboteur of self-love – external validation.
Over here routing for you.