Understanding External Validation Psychology: Why We Seek Approval from Others

Explore the psychology behind external validation, understand why we seek approval from others, and learn to cultivate self-worth from within.

Do you ever feel good enough? How many times do you find yourself seeking validation from others? If you feel like you constantly need to prove yourself and your worth, you’re not alone. The need for external validation has become a pervasive issue in our society. With the rise of social media and the constant comparison game, it’s easy to feel like you’re not good enough.

But why do we seek validation from others, and what does science have to say about it? If you take a moment to tune out the noise around you, you may realize that these thoughts are likely on constant repeat in the back of your mind as well.

In this article, we’ll explore the psychology behind seeking external validation and the impact it can have on our mental health. So buckle up and get ready to dive deep into the science behind your cravings for acknowledgement.

woman holding camera at the beach
This is how we use to see the world before the age of selfies – now a distant memory…

Why do you feel the need for external validation?

As human beings, we crave validation and approval from those around us. It’s natural to want to feel seen, heard, and valued by others. However, in recent years, this need for external validation has reached an unprecedented level. With the rise of social media and the constant stream of information and opinions online, it’s easy to feel lost and insignificant in a sea of voices.

This constant need for validation can be exhausting and ultimately unsatisfying. Seeking external validation means that we are relying on others to validate our self-worth and value. We may feel a momentary boost in confidence when someone compliments us or likes our social media post, but it’s never enough to truly fill the void inside.

So why do we continue to seek external validation? One reason may be that we live in a culture that values achievement and success above all else. We are taught to believe that our worth is tied to our accomplishments and what others think of us. This mentality can lead us to constantly seek out validation from others, as we strive to prove our worth and value.

Another reason for our need for external validation may be rooted in our past experiences and relationships. If we grew up in an environment where our achievements were constantly praised and our mistakes were heavily criticized, we may develop a deep-seated need for validation from others. This can lead us to seek out approval and validation in all areas of our lives, from our careers to our personal relationships.

While seeking external validation is understandable, it’s important to recognize that true validation and self-worth come from within. Instead of relying on others to validate our worth, we must learn to value ourselves and our unique qualities. This means practicing self-compassion, embracing our strengths and weaknesses, and learning to love ourselves unconditionally.

In a world that values external validation above all else, it can be difficult to break free from this cycle. However, by recognizing the root of our need for validation and focusing on cultivating self-love and self-worth, we can learn to live a more fulfilling and authentic life.

Breaking the cycle of external validation to embrace self-esteem through self- perception

Do you ever feel like your sense of self-worth and validation is dependent on the opinions of others? Do you constantly seek out approval and acceptance from those around you, and struggle to find a sense of inner confidence and self-assurance? If so, you’re not alone. Many people today are trapped between the desire for external validation and the need for a healthy sense of self-perception.

But what exactly does this mean? At its core, the struggle between external validation and self-perception is a battle for control over our own self-worth. On one hand, we crave the validation and acceptance of those around us, seeking their approval as a way to feel good about ourselves. This can lead to a constant seeking of external validation, as we strive to gain the approval of others through our actions, behaviors, and appearance.

Breaking free from the trap of external validation and cultivating a strong sense of self-perception is just the first step in creating your own reality. Once you’ve shed the shackles of dependence on others, it’s time to take the reins and consciously choose the reality you want to live in.

This might sound like airy-fairy New Age nonsense, but there’s actually a solid foundation of science behind it. Quantum physics tells us that our thoughts and emotions have a powerful effect on the world around us – in other words, we create our own reality through our beliefs and perceptions.

So if you’re stuck in a negative, disempowering mindset, it’s likely that you’re unconsciously attracting more of the same into your life. But by deliberately shifting your thoughts and emotions into a more positive, empowered state, you can begin to manifest a better reality for yourself.

Of course, this is easier said than done. It’s all too easy to get mired in negative thought patterns and default to the same old limiting beliefs. But with practice, you can learn to recognize these patterns and consciously choose a higher vibration. This might involve techniques like meditation, visualization, or affirmations, but the key is to find what works for you and stick with it.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. You can continue living in a default reality of negativity and limitations, or you can take control of your thoughts and emotions and create a reality that truly aligns with your desires and values. It won’t happen overnight, but with determination and perseverance, you can break free into a brighter, more fulfilling existence.

Changing the inner narrative: self-perception

One of the key challenges in this process is learning to differentiate between genuine self-validation and the need for external approval. This can be especially difficult in a world where social media and other forms of technology make it all too easy to seek out the validation of others. But as you begin to cultivate a stronger sense of self-perception, you’ll find that you no longer need the constant reassurance of others to feel good about yourself.

Another important aspect of this journey is learning to identify the root causes of your own insecurities and self-doubt. For many people, these feelings stem from early childhood experiences or traumas that have left them feeling unworthy or unlovable. By exploring these underlying issues, you can begin to heal from past hurts and build a stronger, more resilient sense of self.

The journey towards a healthier sense of self-perception and a more balanced relationship with external validation is one that requires ongoing resilience. But as you begin to break free from the trap of seeking validation from others, you’ll find that your own sense of self-worth grows stronger with each passing day. And in doing so, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the challenges of life, and to find fulfillment and happiness on your own terms.

Quantum physics tells us that everything in the universe is made up of energy, including our thoughts and emotions. And just like physical energy, emotional energy vibrates at different frequencies. Negative emotions such as fear, anger, and sadness vibrate at a lower frequency, while positive emotions like love, joy, and gratitude vibrate at a higher frequency.

According to the law of attraction, we attract into our lives the things that we focus on and match our vibration. This means that if we constantly dwell on negative emotions, we will attract more negative experiences and people into our lives. On the other hand, if we focus on positive emotions and raise our vibration, we will attract more positive experiences and people.

So, how can we move up on the emotion scale and raise our vibration? It starts with self-awareness and mindfulness. Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions and notice when you are feeling negative. Once you become aware, you can consciously choose to shift your focus to something more positive.

Take a moment each day to focus on the things in your life that you are grateful for. This can be as simple as a roof over your head or a warm cup of coffee in the morning. When you focus on gratitude, you raise your vibration and attract more things to be grateful for. Have you ever tried quieting your mind and focusing on what you have already, not on what you lack? It helps letting go of negative thoughts and emotions and tune into a higher frequency of peace and calm.

a view of a city skyline from a bridge

Cultivating self-worth from ‘likes’?

In both personal and professional settings, I have encountered people who desperately seek approval and acceptance from others, and who constantly feel inadequate and afraid of social rejection. This phenomenon often stems from a history of hurtful experiences and invalidation that begins in childhood and persists throughout one’s life. Consequently, many people learn to base their sense of self-esteem and self-worth on external validation, rather than their own intrinsic value.

This dependence on others’ opinions and perceptions can make individuals vulnerable to manipulation and can lead to a skewed or blurry self-perception. Moreover, seeking external validation often leads to a constant need for approval and validation, and intense negative emotions such as shame, guilt, anger, loneliness, anxiety, and confusion when faced with disapproval or invalidation.

In some cases, people cope by becoming people-pleasers who neglect their own needs and true selves. They may struggle to establish boundaries and have difficulty identifying their own feelings, thoughts, and preferences. Others may adopt a narcissistic or antisocial approach, disregarding others’ boundaries and humanity in favor of their own desires. To break free from this trap of external validation, individuals must learn to cultivate a healthy sense of self-worth and strike a balance between internal and external validation.

One way to cultivate a healthy sense of self-worth is to focus on building a strong foundation of self-esteem from within. This can involve recognizing and acknowledging one’s own strengths, values, and accomplishments, and learning to validate oneself instead of constantly seeking validation from others.

Another helpful approach is to practice mindfulness and self-reflection, which can help individuals become more aware of their own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and learn to identify and challenge negative self-talk and beliefs. Engaging in activities that bring a sense of purpose and fulfillment can also boost self-esteem and provide a sense of validation and accomplishment.

Additionally, developing healthy relationships with others can also play a role in breaking free from the trap of external validation. This involves seeking out individuals who value and accept us for who we are, while also setting boundaries and asserting our own needs and preferences.

Ultimately, breaking free from the trap of external validation requires a willingness to explore and confront one’s own underlying beliefs and patterns of behavior, and a commitment to building a strong sense of self-worth from within. With time and practice, individuals can learn to find a healthy balance between internal and external validation, and cultivate a more positive and authentic self-perception.

a woman sitting on the ground with her dog

The age of selfies- do you feel good enough?

We might very well think of the present time as the age of selfie and call everything else that humanity represents before instagram, the age before selfies. In a social media-driven world, taking selfies has become a common trend. From posting a picture of a new haircut to capturing a beautiful sunset, selfies are a way to capture and share moments of our lives with others. The obsession with “likes” has turned the selfie culture into a numbers game, leaving many feeling insecure and anxious, regardless their social status or age.

The number of likes on a selfie can determine your worth and future. In the pursuit of validation, people go to great lengths to capture the perfect shot, applying filters and editing the image until it’s “Instagram-worthy.” The pressure to conform to beauty standards and be liked by others can have a damaging effect on one’s self-esteem.

The need for approval can also lead to the dangerous practice of comparing oneself to others. It’s easy to fall into the trap of scrolling through Instagram and feeling envious of someone else’s picture-perfect life. This constant comparison can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

Navigating through the selfie culture can be a tricky business. On one hand, selfies can be a fun way to capture memories and share experiences. The pressure to conform to societal beauty standards and the obsession with likes across your social media accounts can take a toll your mental health.

To combat the negative effects of the selfie culture, it’s important to remember that likes do not define your worth. It’s okay to take a break from social media and focus on real-life experiences. We should also strive to cultivate self-love and acceptance, regardless of the number of likes on a picture.

While the selfie culture may seem harmless, it’s important to be mindful of the impact it can have on our mental health and inspiring the younger generation focus on cultivating a healthy sense of self-worth and enjoying the moments of our lives for ourselves, rather than seeking validation from others.

Selfies have become a ubiquitous part of modern society, with people of all ages and backgrounds snapping pictures of themselves in every conceivable setting. From celebrities to politicians, everyone seems to be getting in on the act. But could this obsession with self-image mark a turning point in human history, a defining moment that future generations will look back on as the age before and after the selfie?

Some argue that the selfie craze is a reflection of our increasingly narcissistic and image-obsessed culture, where people are more concerned with projecting a certain image than living authentic lives. Others see it as a natural evolution of technology and social media, a way to connect with others and express ourselves in new and creative ways.

Whatever your view on the subject, there’s no denying that selfies have had a profound impact on our society. They’ve spawned a whole new industry of gadgets, apps, and accessories designed to help people take the perfect selfie, and they’ve given rise to a new breed of celebrity known as the “influencer”.

The impact of selfies is explored in depth in the 2021 Netflix documentary “Fake Famous”. The film follows the journeys of three ordinary people who are transformed into social media stars using tactics such as buying followers and faking a luxurious lifestyle. Their experiences shed light on the lengths people will go to in order to achieve fame and validation in the digital age.

As we continue to grapple with the effects of social media and the ever-increasing influence of technology on our lives, it’s clear that the age of the selfie will be remembered as a defining moment in human history. Whether it’s for better or worse, only time will tell.

Dr Marina Nani
Dr Marina Nani

Editor-in-Chief of Rich Woman Magazine, founder of Sovereign Magazine, author of many books, Dr Marina Nani is a social edification scientist coining a new industry, Social Edification.
Passionately advocating to celebrate your human potential, she is well known for her trademark "Be Seen- Be Heard- Be You" running red carpet events and advanced courses like Blog Genius®, Book Genius®, Podcast Genius®, the cornerstones of her teaching.
The constant practitioner of good news, she founded MAKE THE NEWS
( MTN) with the aim to diagnose and close the achievement gap globally.
Founder of many publications, British Brands with global reach Marina believes that there is a genius ( Stardust) in each individual, regardless of past and present circumstances.
"Not recognising your talent leaves society at loss. Sharing the good news makes a significant difference in your perception about yourself, your industry and your community."

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