Last week I got an email from a young woman who shared that she is struggling to trust herself. That struggle to trust herself is making life choices, big and small, even harder to manage. And her life doesn’t feel like her own.
“I look in the mirror and don’t even recognize myself. Or my life.”
She wisely named a big part of the struggle, which felt so familiar to me:
The quest for outside validation.
AKA, always looking to someone else to tell her if she’s doing her life “right.”
This need for outside validation impacts her health journey, her own education, career, her relationships, and living situation. She now sees that she was raised not to trust herself.
Dang, that hit my heart.
Because it sure sounded like the me of several years ago:
I was always looking to someone else for validation that my
feelings, opinions, ideas, or actions were valid or worthwhile.
I looked to my husband when it came to career decisions.
I checked in with friends and got their opinion when a drama or big issue came up.
I strictly followed a vegan diet even when I started to get sick and depleted.
I was so like her.
I was trained to look outside myself for expert guidance.
I was brainwashed to question if my ideas were good enough to share.
I was taught to suspect my impulses in case they got me in trouble or harshly judged.
I was raised to question my knowing.
Does this feel familiar?
It’s a trap.
It’s a trap to always think we need someone else to tell us what is right for us, and what we should do.
This need to get someone else to validate our feelings, actions, thoughts, and our very existence has a dangerous effect.
We give away our power.
If power is the ability to act and to have influence in the world around us, then seeking outside validation is a very disempowering way to live.
It’s an all-too uncommon skill to validate ourselves, but it’s profoundly important:
We have to validate ourselves because people can say we are wonderful, perfect, and awesome, but until we feel it for ourselves, it doesn’t matter one little bit. We must validate ourselves because other people don’t know us and may be flat-out WRONG.
So I offer you this compelling quest:
Notice when you start to look for outside validation, and instead, perform an experiment.
Go forth like a scientist in your own life.
NO ONE else knows you, your purpose, your life story, your body, your skills, your soul, better than you.
Begin to validate your own damned self.
YOU be the decider of whether your ideas are worth sharing.
YOU become the arbiter of your actions.
YOU be the maven of your next steps.
YOU validate your own existence without anyone else’s opinion.
Do you know what you get out of this captivating experiment?
You get out of this prison of self-doubt and into self-loving trust.
Here’s what I wrote back to this young woman:
“Yes, young woman. You have even validated yourself in writing to me.
And you need to keep validating yourself every damned day of your life.
Because no one else, not a lover, parent, friend, or teacher can do it for you. Not even me.
YOU hold the keys to your own freedom.
And you’re turning that damned key right now, just by healing yourself and knowing you’re getting ready for a big move.”
We must validate ourselves to restore faith and trust in ourselves.
Back when I was exhausting my soul by constantly seeking validation in my marriage and business, I noticed two things:
Things that worked for other people didn’t work for me.
In ignoring my ideas, desires, and preferences, I became really irritated and angry.
After years of a marriage where my husband’s career took the spotlight and mattered above all else? After years of suffering behind the scenes and pretending like everything was fine?
I got honest and started telling the truth about how shitty things were, and got honest about what I really wanted.
I wanted a spouse who was around. And trustworthy.
I wanted a life where the work I wanted to do was valued.
I wanted to eat in a way that felt nourishing to my body, no matter what anyone else said.
I wanted my work life to feel good to me, and stop copying everyone else’s life and systems.
You hold the keys to your own freedom, fierce one.
You are the judge of what’s cool and good for you.
You can strengthen this skill and live your life by your own rules, successfully. Apply for my 1:1, high-level coaching for driven women who lead: http://alexandrajamieson.com/private-coaching/
Sending big time mama bear love your way,