Do You Need Others to Validate You?
Written by Alan Cohen
Do you need any person, object, or ideology to give you a sense of self-worth? Does your experience of validation come from others, or yourself?
Fortunately, in spite of all of our attempts to import worth, life disrobes phoniness, rewards authenticity, and leads us back to our innate splendor. Whenever there is an agreement that objects or idols are more valuable than people, despair must enter and point us back to who we are, not what we own. The universe is constantly, lovingly, persistently, patiently nudging us (sometimes with a sledgehammer) back to the one essential truth that makes us happy:
You are valuable and lovable for who and what you are.
Your True Quest
The need for others to validate you is really a quest for self-validation. If you know your worth, you do not need other people to affirm it. If you do not recognize your worth, all the validation in the world will not fill the void you perceive. Your worthiness depends on nothing outside you, and everything inside you. Consider this bumper sticker: GOD LOVES YOU, AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.
Many people spend a lot of time, energy, effort, and money trying to prove themselves to others. They amass degrees, corporate clout, trivial data, sex appeal, celebrity friends, and trendy jargon, all in hopes of impressing other people and demonstrating their wisdom, power, beauty, and achievement. Yet the proving game is booby-trapped from the start. When you begin with the assumption that you are not enough, and if you can just get enough people (or one significant person) to recognize that you are enough, you set yourself up to lose, because your initial premise was faulty. The more you try to prove yourself, the more you need to prove.
Kudos from the outer world are fun, but not necessary. Self-acknowledgment is the most valuable trophy you can place on your soul's mantel. Either you have inner peace -- or no peace. As you cultivate the knowledge of your intrinsic worth, you cease to be the slave of outer opinion and you source your life from your soul.
Get a Attitude-Lift
I saw a television news story on "The Human Barbie," a woman who has undergone more than a hundred cosmetic surgeries at a cost of over a million dollars. When the interviewer asked her why she had gone to so much trouble and expense to look like a doll, she explained, "When I was not so pretty, I went to parties and men dissed me. Now I take great pleasure in dissing them." How much time, trouble, and money could this woman have saved simply by knowing her beauty and worth?
Cosmetic surgeries can be helpful if they improve your self-image and confidence. The better you feel about yourself, the more effective you will be. Before submitting to the knife, just check your motivation. If you approach your nips, tucks, and enhancements with a creative, self-honoring intention, enjoy the adventure. If you believe that they will make you something you are not and gain you love or approval, tread carefully. Consider, instead, getting an attitude-lift.
Real beauty is an energy you exude from within. I know many women and men who might not be considered attractive from a glamour-magazine standpoint, but they radiate such zest for life that everyone loves them and wants to be around them.
Beauty... Love... Joy
My friend Elsita was 89 years old when I met her. She had such tremendous charisma that everyone in the community vied to be in her presence. I used to invite Elsita to be a guest lecturer at my Life Mastery Training programs. She would tell spicy stories about her life, recite from memory poetry she wrote at the outset of World War I, and reveal her beauty secrets to the group. (Her skin was hardly wrinkled.)
Elsita explained, "Every morning I stroke cream on my face with the affirmation Beauty, beauty, beauty . . . love, love, love . . . joy, joy, joy." Elsita's secret was not the cream, but the affirmation, which penetrated deep into her cells. Everyone loved Elsita not because she was a beauty queen, but because love oozed from her pores. That made her a real beauty queen.
Gaining Approval from the Only Person Who Matters
A Course in Miracles asks us to remember, "I have a kingdom I must rule." That kingdom is not a geographical domain; it is the realm of the mind and heart.
The real shift you seek is not geographical, but attitudinal. When you see yourself from the perspective that God sees you — whole, perfect, and beautiful — you can drop your quest to become worthy. Your true value is built into you.
Can you remember who you were, what you knew, and how you felt before you were taught that you had to earn validation? When you reclaim that crucial memory, all the people whose approval you sought will be unimportant, for you have gained approval from the only person who matters.
©2012 by Alan Cohen. All Rights Reserved,
This article was adapted with permission from the book:
Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment
In a world where fear, crisis, and insufficiency dominate the media and many personal lives, the notion of claiming contentment may seem fantastic or even heretical. In his warm, down-to-earth style, Alan Cohen offers fresh, unique, and uplifting angles on coming to peace with what is before you and turning mundane situations into opportunities to gain wisdom, power, and happiness that does not depend on other people or conditions.
About The Author
Alan Cohen is the author of many inspirational books including Relax into Wealth and I Had it All the Time: When Self-Improvement Gives Way to Ecstasy. Join Alan’s upcoming Life Coach Training Program to become a professional life coach or incorporate life coaching skills in your career or personal life. For information about this program, Alan’s books, free daily inspirational quotes, and his weekly radio show, visitwww.alancohen.com.