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Seeking external validation is necessary for us.

“My son is 12 years old and he still seeks validation for his actions from us and friends”

“My husband at 40 still asks his elder brother for his opinions on certain things, Why can’t he know himself?”

“When I try out a new dish, I look for family members reaction and my husband says, I should be sure of it myself and not depend on other people’s opinions/”

We constantly hear from everyone including the Gurus of Psychology that we should not seek external validation but should know the value of what we do. This goes so much against human nature. Not only children but even adults need external validation. Children constantly look to adults around them to know what they did was correct. This approval shapes their inner world and they now what is good/bad, acceptable/unacceptable, appropriate/inappropriate etc. As we grow up, we begin to understand the value of what we do but still need external validation from trusted people around us. Without external validation, we would not be able to know if what we are doing serves others around us. Whether within a family or at work we work as a team. We work for the larger interest of our team and not just to satisfy ourselves. If we are doing some work which is only for our personal consumption (singing for myself, cooking for self, exercising for personal benefit), I might not need external approval. But for things that also affects others seeking external validation is not wrong but essential. We would not be able to make corrections, rectify our errors if there was no external validation.

Whom we seek external validation is important. In our lives we will have people who care about us, who are interested in our growth, who want our well-being, seeking external validation from such people will make our work better. We should be careful not to seek validation from people who don’t like us, who are envious/jealous of us and who don’t wish us well. Then it will turn to people pleasing activity.

Almost everything that we do is a performance and all performers seek validation from the audience. Sometimes our performance satisfies us but not others, at other times it is appreciated by others but we may not be happy with our work. The best is when we and the audience are happy with it.

Seeking external validation in certain contexts from some people is not wrong, becoming a slave to it is.


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