Do you shop with girlfriends because you are afraid of picking out the perfect pair of jeans alone? Do you struggle to choose your next meal until someone else tells you what he or she is having? Getting our own needs validated sometimes feels like a struggle. We might not think we are in the midst of this battle in the moment, but often we want other people to confirm our beliefs so that we do not have to take ownership of our choices. Constantly needing to be validated by our friends or partner creates resentment, anxiety (what if I make the wrong choice?), trust issues (if I don’t do what they think, will I be accepted?), and pressure on the relationship as a whole. This can create a vicious cycle of dependence on others.
We’ve all let peer pressure take over and ordered a salad when we wanted a burger. Looking for an outside influence to confirm your beliefs isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This instinct to conform was instilled in our biology as a survival tool, as many lifetimes past we could have been excluded from the tribe or community for making the wrong choice. This wrong choice could have ultimately led to more serious consequences for the group. In modern life, we no longer need these instincts to protect the tribe, and have the opportunity to make our own choices and pay attention to our own needs.
When you begin to validate yourself, you create self-confidence that changes how you see yourself in the world. You will begin to look inward for guidance, no longer looking for others to validate your path.
- Know yourself. Listen and know your tendency. Do you continuously look to others for support in your choices?
- Evaluate your internal needs. Did you really want that salad or that $300 pair of jeans?
- Be confident. Actively respond and be confident in your internal decision: I would like or I wouldn’t like the ______(insert need here). Don’t beat yourself up if you’re struggling to feel good about your decision; with practice and over time, your confidence will improve!