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If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.

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We all want the people around us to love and accept us. It’s a natural human desire. It becomes a problem when we are so focused external validation, that we only feel good when we get it from others. Think about it. If I only feel good about myself when someone else shows me that I am accepted, then I have put the key to my self-worth in that person’s pocket. And if they flat out reject me, I’m pretty screwed.

When I was younger, I needed external validation so much that I chased it, from the all wrong people and for all the wrong reasons. I found it to be incredibly lonely then because I never felt like I was good enough without their validation. The problem with relying on external validation to feel good about yourself is that what you get is never enough. It can never be enough, because the feeling that you are seeking, only comes from inside yourself and is one only you can provide.

When I discovered that, I felt daunted. I had no idea how to actually love and value myself. I seriously wondered if I was even capable of being able to provide that to myself. Maybe somehow other people magically possessed this power, but I did not. But maybe having this power wasn’t as foreign as I had thought.

As a kid I was pretty comfortable in my own skin. I had insecurities like everyone else, but I knew who I was, what I stood for and I actually felt better about standing out than fitting in. I was lucky to have a family that supported individuality and creativity. I knew as a kid, I was born to stand out. That I didn’t need anyone else’s approval to “do me”. 

As a young adult, it was like I had forgotten that part of me. I had become depressed after leaving an abusive relationship and felt lonelier than I had ever felt in my life. As I became more depressed, I lost sight of my value. It was like that super confident girl no longer existed. And I felt like I needed to be so much more than I was to actually be loved, otherwise I would feel alone again. And I never wanted to feel that ever again. I craved acceptance so much, I compromised. A lot. The more I compromised, the more I eroded my self-esteem. And then I needed that external validation.

People live for other people’s acceptance for so many different reasons. If you are one of them, the first thing you need to do is understand why. Why are you outsourcing your self-worth to someone else? Why do they get to determine your value? Were you told that you lacked value as a child from the adults who were supposed to build you up, but instead were unhealthy people and tore you down? Or maybe you were taught that what other people think of you matters more than what you think of yourself?

For me, it was fully realizing that I had given up my power. It didn’t just happen one day where I had this epiphany and my mindset shifted. It was gradual process, over time. It was a series of bad decisions that I had made with serious consequences and wondering how I had made such a mess of things. It was finding ghosts of who I used to be in certain situations and missing her. It was heartbreak and feeling completely unaccepted, unloved and more alone than I have ever felt before – even more than when I was a young adult and I swore I would never allow myself to feel again. It was finally understanding what I deserve and that I was worthy of good things, and always had been.

If you are struggling with knowing your value, here are some things to remember:

  • Nothing outside of you can ever take away how you feel about yourself.
  • Being real and authentic with yourself, flaws and all – the good, the bad and the ugly and accepting it is the solid foundation of building self-worth.
  • Be gentle with yourself. If you spoke to a friend the way you speak to yourself, what would they say?
  • Eliminate negative self-talk and focus on positive affirmations.
  • Always be improving yourself for you. What are you good at? What are you interested in?
  • What other people think of you is none of your business.
  • There is only one “you”. You have something that only you can give to this world.
  • You are unshakeable and incredibly resourceful.
  • When you begin to love yourself, you will tolerate less nonsense.
  • Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.
  • You owe yourself the love that you give so freely to other people.
  • Stop hating the experiences that shaped you.
  • The same light you see shining in others is in you, too.

Video for If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.

The Consequence of Chasing External Approval and Validation

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