January 19, 2020

TRAP OF EXTERNAL VALIDATION — The killer of happiness and self esteem

Francis Omorojie

Very often a time, we find ourselves feeling out of place, rejected or not loved as we wished to be loved. We tend to start feeling that we are not valued by people around us. Most times, we don’t find value in ourselves or our actions, maybe because no one has approached us to give us kudos or engage us in their social circle. Most young people are trapped in the masquerade of external validation. As we grow up, our self-esteem has been shaped by how we react to people’s actions towards us. We tend to see ourselves as Not Good Enough to fit in. We become too conscious about what we speak and probably die with that heart-warming and life changing unspoken words, just because our enslaved mind is telling us not to speak up because we might say something out of point.

We become slaves to ourselves and to the world around us when we become validation seekers. You feel the world should love you, people should applaud you for your work and then you are all fulfilled. The bad news is that those validations you are seeking for, will not come at the time you needed those until you start living your own life, why? Because each second, minute and hour of day, your mind is pre-occupied with that negative thought about yourself of being less important among your peers. You become too conscious of what you wear, what you say, how you walk, what to respond to a friend and even how you eat! The moment you start trying to be perfect in order to fit-in then you are lost, you are fake and you will be uncomfortable with your body and life in general.

No wonder depression in young people has rapidly increased since the last decade. We inflict self-pain on ourselves and go outside our God-given path, just to belong. Each time I sit with a young person or group of young people, I always notice that the discussion is about how we appear to people. We become too concerned about what people will say about us. We fake love, fake happiness, fake success, fake religion, fake passion, fake values, just to be noticed or get into people’s good books. Guess what? You have just succeeded in being enslaved to people that do not care about you the next second you step out of their faces. Unknowingly we invest so much time, money (Even borrowing) and energy trying to get that external validation that gives us temporary satisfaction. What you need to know about sticking your happiness on external validation is that you will NEVER BE HAPPY! You will be like a hungry cat, always moving around looking for happiness where it doesn’t exist. We have nurtured this illusion that people should be nice to us, people should care for us, people should applaud us for how we look, how we dress, how we act, how we dance, how we laugh, how we walk. Each time we don’t get any compliment from people we expected it from the most, we get hurt deeply as if we have lost some part of our body. External validation has made most young people live like a strangers to themselves, trying to be someone else, trying to be upto pal with the standards that the society has created for us and at the end we fall by the way-side and lose track of our lives and happiness.

I will quickly share some tips how I am overcoming the masked happiness stealer behind external validation. Since I started practicing some of these tips, I find myself, free, contempt, happier and focused. The danger of seeking people validation goes beyond losing your happiness, but it destroy you as far as losing your values, your principles, your purpose and your destiny. Here are some tips you could try to adopt moving forward to break away from the slavery of people validation. 1. Develop Self-Love: Most people think this is an automatic action in our lives. We believe that we are just born to love ourselves naturally. Yes! This is true, as we are born with natural love in our heart and we love ourselves as much as the in-born love planted in our hearts. As kids, love radiates from us and we are always happy genuinely; happy about our family, even if they had nothing, happy about our clothes, happy about our food, happy about our friends, happy and proud about our parents, happy about our looks and appearance. All these start changing when we begin to learn about how the society wants us to become and the standards set by the society. We see ourselves heading into self-induced depressions for worldly things, peer pressure and things beyond your influence. When you start accommodating the low self-esteem mindset, then you will begin to lose that self-love and happiness you had when you were a kid. What I would like you to practice here, is to love yourself unconditionally. Everyone is fearfully and wonderfully made. You are unique, you are special, and you are a perfect design. Don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise. If you are not accepted or invited in any circle of people, then you are not meant to be there. Its either they are not good enough for you or they are not the circle that will lead you to greater place, PERIOD! Never feel rejected or lonely. Love yourself unconditionally! Never think of what you lack in your body or anything material. Whatever God did not add to your body is not meant for you and you are just perfect the way you are. The beauty about being you, is that no one else can be you! You are just one in the whole word. Just think about it, how you are unique; out of over 7 billion people in the world, no one can be you. This is because God made all of us perfect. Every day, wake, look at the mirror, admire yourself and thank God for giving you the best life. Never put someone before yourself, never hand your happiness to someone else, before taking any action to please another person, ask yourself if you are happy taking that action. Always make sure you come first. Be you, do you and the world will still accept you. Take time to admire yourself, praise yourself, build yourself, set your own standards, do things that will bring you genuine happiness, and think less of what the world will say about you.

  1. Develop a Thick Skin: For you not to pay attention to every word or alterations that fly around, you have to develop a thick skin to avoid being hurt a lot about things you hear about yourself. The truth is that no matter how accommodating you want to be, you cannot please everyone. Always put on the right conscience to make sure that you are doing the right thing. Put your conscience to work and don’t take every feedback or opinion from people, otherwise you will be living a borrowed life.
  2. Discipline: You must train your mind to guide your thinking. You must direct your mind to always know that YOU ARE ENOUGH! Discipline your mind to reduce expectations from people, guard your happiness by gaining deep understanding of keeping your happiness within your circle of influence. Let your happiness be built around things you can control, like your passion, your job, your relationship with God, your hobbies etc.

As I am concluding this first episode of my 2020 Freedom articles, I will like to let you know that the most dangerous stealer of happiness is people validation and when you fall into this trap, you will never find your path in life. You will always see yourself trying to gain people’s attention or compliments. Love yourself more, put your happiness within your circle of influence. Just note at the back of your head that it is not in your place to force people to care or applaud you, so you should stop killing yourself just to get someone’s attention. You will face multiple disappointments when you live your daily life being fake to yourself. What is more hurting that when you are not yourself, wearing what you don’t like, eating what you don’t like, being with circle of friends that do not add value to you, staying in a circle that makes you look down on yourself. The good news I am bringing to you today is that YOU ARE ENOUGH!. The moment you start speaking up, the moment you start taking those decisions without fear, the moment you start dressing in what makes you comfortable, the moment you stop expecting so much from people, the moment you start admiring your own life, the moment you realize that you are fearfully made, the moment you start focusing on your passion, then you will notice how free you are. You will notice how your soul will be lifted up and you will experience genuine happiness. And the world have no choice than to still accept you.

I hope to see you happier starting from today.

See you in the next episode of my 2020 FREEDOM article.