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Home » Blog » Encouragement VS External Validation

Humans are social beings by nature. We are wired to seek acceptance from our peers. We shape opinions about our actions, whether our actions are good and praise-worthy based on the social cues we receive from others. It feels amazing when we are validated by others, and it makes us want to act in a similar manner in the future in order to relive the same good feelings.

Although desiring external validation is natural and safe, it may go too far when it becomes an addiction and/or is not balanced by healthy levels of self-esteem. People start craving for others’ approval in these situations, even if it means jeopardising their own mental and physical health.

Being interdependent and depending on the guidance and motivation of others is a part of validation. Also the most self-reliant people need affirmation in certain areas of their lives; however, they are capable of accepting self-validation if they do not obtain it from others.

In other words, if an individual prioritises the acceptance, approval, or acknowledgement of others over their own feelings, they will need ongoing affirmation from that external, other person.

We understand the importance of insight from multiple viewpoints, but we might be searching for something else without realising it.

We might get upset when the advice and views aren’t as we expect. Anger, sadness, and a lack of motivation can all result from disappointment. The key cause of this frustration — and more — is that we keep looking for external approval. We need approval and assurance to do the things we think are best. When we don’t get outside affirmation, it transforms into other emotions and thoughts that can affect us negatively.

This kind of dependence makes it look rather needy instead of looking like encouragement.

External Validation and Social Influence

The way people frame themselves and their identities based on how others react to their posts has grown into a significant need for affirmation from others., Thanks to social media and the way people frame themselves and their identities based on how others respond to their posts. Social networking, according to Matthew Lieberman, a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Interact, satisfies the need to belong to a group and prevent feeling lonely and weak. (Tjepkema, 2019; Liebman, 2013)

Most people have a friend who is regularly sharing and checking in on their messages’ likes, comments, retweets, and shares. And it’s not just a few people; over 3.2 billion people worldwide use social media on a regular basis. According to Emarsys, this figure represents roughly 42 percent of the overall global population.

This, coupled with a desire for in-person affirmation, can lead to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, as well as an addiction to gaining attention, recognition, and acknowledgement in all aspects of life.

Be Aware of the Validation You Seek

Understanding the sort of validation you need is an important first step in breaking the need for validation from others: Do you want to be recognised on social media? Do you want to be told that you’re the best in the community, the best at work, the perfect partner, or the best parent?

The first step is to know when you’re looking for confirmation from outside sources. People may select a more successful alternative by accepting this behaviour, breaking the loop and learning to search internally for affirmation.

Some good ways to start are:

Take a break from social media. Start by removing yourself from social media. This eliminates the need to compare yourself to others, as well as the anxiety and stress of not knowing how others will respond to your photo, message, or comment.

Be aware of your surroundings. Take a closer look at what you’re doing. Look for ways to change and write them down, either in your head or in a journal. These are self-validations that aid in the development of your self-awareness of your own strengths, talents, and abilities.

Do not ASK for validation. Instead of relying on others for affirmation, ask yourself. If you do receive affirmation (encouragement or acknowledgement), accept and acknowledge the praise before stopping. Begin not to look for or ask for approval from others.

Keep in mind that validation is not a bad thing in your life; it is affirming and positive. It only becomes problematic when it becomes the focus of all you do. External Validation has a fine line that’s why many confuse us to be encouragement. No one explains this better than this video snippet on the same subject.

Trying to get approval from people who don’t understand is a surefire way to fail. You should listen to others for suggestions, but don’t get emotionally attached to their responses. Make sure you are happy with the choices you’re making.

This is your life and your business. You are the one who is responsible for the consequences of your choices. You are the one that must persevere when everything seems to be falling apart. Such are the moments that any entrepreneur goes through. If you’re going through a tough time by yourself, don’t let external affirmation decide whether or not you’re having a good time. Create your inner power. Use sound advice to enhance rather than dictate what you’re doing.

Surround yourself with entrepreneurs and people who will give you truthful, non-judgmental advice based on their own personal preferences. Pay attention to the recommendations and weed out what isn’t relevant to your objectives. Don’t take it as gospel or a guideline on what you should do. Validate your own worth.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is external validation?

Others validating your emotions is an example of external validation. He or she needs someone or something to demonstrate their ability to do something. While seeking external validation is normal and healthy, it can become an obsession if it is not matched by healthy levels of self-esteem.

How does social influence affect behavior?

The ways in which individuals adjust their actions to meet the demands of a social environment are referred to as social influence. Typically, social influence is the product of a particular action, order, or request, but people often change their attitudes and behaviours in response to what they believe others are doing or thinking.

What Is Social Validation and how does it work?

Social validation is a psychological phenomenon in which one or more passive individuals imitate or adhere to the behaviour of others within a group.

How to boost self confidence?

Self-confidence is a mindset about one’s own abilities and skills.

  • It means that you embrace yourself and trust yourself and that you are in command of your life. 
  • You should  have a positive outlook about yourself and be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Set realistic goals and expectations.