How to stop needing others to feel good
We live in a pretty co-dependent world these days. (I know how much I freak out if I go out and leave my phone at home!) We're addicted to being in touch with other people at all times and this is fine, but it can create problems if we always need to look to others to make us feel good about ourselves.
As someone who has spent a lot of years getting validation from others, I know that it’s a hard habit to get rid of. We put a lot of importance on social likes, shares, clicks and emojis replies, which means that learning to create habits and routines of self-love and self-validation is more important than ever. How can we do it in such a codependent world?
- Noticing how much we judge ourselves.
- Noticing your acts of kindness and starting to value them.
Dr. Margaret says: ‘Judging yourself is the opposite of validating yourself, and creates much inner pain and insecurity. Self-judgment is generally a form of control to get yourself to do things "right" so that others will validate you and approve of you. But as much as you may succeed in getting others to approve of you, as long as you are judging yourself you will continue to feel badly about yourself.’
This makes a lot of sense right?
We should be creating habits, thoughts and behaviours that build a sense of security, trust and value within ourselves. But all too often we are our biggest critic, bully and bitch. Add in a heap of messaging from diets, weight loss and fitness/lifestyle plans... and it all adds to thoughts and feelings of not being good enough.
If we didn't get enough love, support or kindness when we were growing up this can make us anxious adults with an over-developed inner critic. Yikes.
Many of my clients are also dragging around perfectionism issues i.e. trying to have the perfect body, perfect meal or keep perfect relationship. And weirdly, in my experience it’s often when we’re feeling the most down that we’re the the harshest to ourselves! Why do we do it to ourselves?
It’s no wonder that we find it so hard to cut ourselves some slack and tell ourselves that we’re good enough, smart enough, sexy enough and going a great job.
The second point Dr. Margaret makes is a really good one. For some reason bad is super sticky but good things are like Teflon.
At the end of the day, we have to learn to give ourselves some credit for the great job that we’re doing. Here’s what the Queen that is Brené Brown, has to say in her great book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are:
“Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
We also put too much emphasis on what others think. It’s definitely taken me a long time to get over caring so much what people think. And I think that it’s something I’ll continue to have to keep working on (as an ex-people pleaser), sadly self-love and self-care are habits which we have to keep repeating.
There's so much freedom in not giving a fuck what others think.
So knowing that our inability to self-validate comes from a place of too much judgement, too much caring what others think, not paying enough attention to the good things about ourselves and not feeling like our best is good enough…
Here’s are my 6 tips on how to find some self-validation:
1. Make a list of all the kick-ass awesome things you’ve done, keep adding to it and refer to it when you need some reassurance. I heard someone on a podcast this week say that they have a folder on their phone called ‘Calm’ which was full of quotes and photos to help them stop feeling anxious. You could easily make a folder called ‘Awesome’ and put in anything that you’ve done that makes you feel good about yourself e.g. photos, notes of kind words people have said, quotes.
2. Try thinking what would you want a friend to tell you? Then tell it to yourself. It’s surprisingly powerful! Sometimes we actually already know the answers.
3. Think about how you would compassionately parent a child (yup, we all have an inner child within us who’s probably in need of a cuddle) Don’t let your feelings turn into shame i.e ‘I’m such an idiot, I don’t know why I try’ but think what you’d say to a child you needed a pep talk. Again, this may sound woo, but it works surprisingly well!
4. Romance yourself - then give yourself a high five for prioritising yourself. When was the last time you took yourself out on a date and made yourself your no.1 priority? I started to take myself on dates a couple of years ago and it’s the nicest feeling. Stop waiting for others to make you feel good! Take the matter into your own hand.
5. Curate the images you feel yourself with. Stop buying magazines that are trying to sell you things by making you feel shitty about yourself. And unfollow anyone who triggers you. This is the easiest and most powerful thing you can do. Comparison is the thief of joy, get rid of anyone who doesn’t make you feel all warm inside.
6. Show up for yourself. Ask yourself what would make you happy right now? This includes eating as well as you can (NOT perfectly!) i.e. getting some fruit and veggies in there when you can, getting enough sleep and moving in a way that makes you feel good. It means speaking up for yourself when others are making you feel shitty and creating space to play. Investing in the relationship you have with yourself is the most important thing you can do.
The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you have, don’t be fooled. Letting others make us feel good is fine, but we need to have some strategies in place that means we can be our own cheer-leaders, comfort blanket and action hero.
Want some extra support in learning to be more resilient? Come and join my 1:1 programme.
Love Harri Rose x