Does your life truly feel like your own? How many of your thoughts, words and actions are coming from a place of authentic alignment? If you’re anything like me, than I’d guess that there’s quite a bit you do that stems from the unconscious desire to be validated. It could be as simple as the way you communicate with others, do you find yourself constantly polishing your words, or are you speaking from your truth? Perhaps it’s the way you dress, are your clothes items that you love? Or are you always trying to keep up with the latest trend, even at the expense of your sense of self? At a surface level it makes sense why we’d want to tailor ourselves. After all we all want to feel love, safety and acceptance. However like with most things there is a price.
Going into my first year of college, I was completely sold on the idea of making the experience as outwardly appealing as possible. I wanted to “look the part” get the attention of the women I desired, and I thought that my path to doing so, started with fundamentally changing myself. I began working out from a place of “lack” as opposed to a place of self love. I hung out with groups of people that weren’t my tribe, and I started having the “successful” college experience I was sold on. However, deep down I wasn’t very happy. I knew that I was suppressing parts of myself that I was afraid weren’t worthy of love. The more I suppressed those parts, the more I felt disassociated from the people around me, and most importantly myself.
It wasn’t till four months after I graduated and moved to a new city, that I realized I was still carrying a lot of facade with me. I don’t blame myself for this, and neither should you. As I stated we all want those same fundamental things, love, safety and acceptance. What if there was a way though to get those needs met while still staying true to ourselves. Instead of striving for approval we can strive for in-proval.
This process isn’t always easy but it starts with determining what is authentically important to us, and letting our actions follow suit. In my case, I’ve never been a heavy drinker, I can enjoy a drink from time to time but I can remember there being nights in college where I would go out and choose not to drink. Sometimes I would hear from friends “why aren’t you drinking” and for a minute there would be a flutter of fear. I’d be worried that maybe if I wasn’t drinking I’d be looked at differently or lose some kind of social approval. Yet the more I aligned my actions with my truth, the more I felt a different surge of fulfillment come over me. The fulfillment of choosing to validate myself internally. In addition with most things you do over time, the stronger the muscle becomes, and the easier it can be implemented.
I’m by no means an expert at being internally validated, I catch myself falling into the need for external approval quite often. Yet I know that with continued mindfulness, and courageous action we can all begin to start looking first to ourselves for approval, and then go on to living lives of fulfillment.