Validation comes from within.

validation comes from within hands making heart shape in front of sunset

“I feel so validated.”

We all know the rush of relief that comes with that statement. Having an outside source confirm something you have suspected or believed (but were unsure of) can be like a weight lifted off your shoulders. It’s reassuring to have someone agree with you.

But what happens when we wait our whole lives for agreement that never comes?

Some areas of our life legitimately need validation from outside sources. Most academic work needs to be approved by other respected members of that field before it can be considered valid. Legal arguments must be upheld by the court of law. When we talk about the rightness or wrongness of a certain course of action, those principles need to be examined to determine if they are true or not.

We can’t go through life cheating, lying, stealing, or generally harming ourselves or others and then expect the rest of the world to back us up.

But our own personal tastes and experiences are not things we need others to affirm in order for them to be legitimate.

As women, we often spend too much time relying on these outside sources of validation. We aren’t pretty, smart, or kind until someone else says we are. What we say doesn’t matter until someone else backs us up. What we feel isn’t valid until someone else says it is.

We can spend so much of our lives waiting on that validation—from our parents, from our peers, from our romantic partners—and in many cases, never receiving it. As a result, we learn to doubt our own judgment, to discredit our own opinions, and discount our own emotions.

When we accept our experiences as legitimate, we gain confidence. We learn to accept our feelings without having to justify them to others. We become at peace with ourselves.

Take a moment today to remind yourself that your interests don’t have to be popular to matter. Your emotions don’t have to be recognized to be real. And if you look in the mirror today and like what you see, yours is the only opinion that matters.

Are you waiting on others to validate some part of yourself or your interests? What would happen if you accepted that thing about yourself right now?

Iris Proctor
Iris is the director of ArborWoman.