It's Okay to Seek Validation from Others
Seeking validation from others is often demonized today. We are made to feel guilty for this human desire — for craving attention, reassurance, and support. And while it's healthy to give yourself the validation you're searching for, shaming yourself for seeking validation from others will not help you.
I do this to myself all the time, constantly talking down to myself for the way I cope. I could be sobbing and shaking on the floor, wanting to reach out to someone for support, and my brain would tell me: "You just want attention. You just want validation. You're just being dramatic."
Sound familiar? You're not alone.
Seeking Validation Does Not Make You Bad
After enduring trauma, you might seek validation as a way to affirm that your feelings are rational — that you have a right to feel the way you do. This is something I struggled with, as I never felt like my childhood sexual assault was "bad enough" for me to feel the way I felt. I thought I was just looking for an excuse or a reason to "seek attention," as many would tell me. Forget the years of agony, panic attacks, and intimacy issues. To prove I had a right to be upset, I would consistently ask for validation from others.
But what is so wrong about that? In fact, validation can be a game-changer when it comes to healing from trauma. If I hadn't found a support system that validated my experiences, I'd likely still be suffering alone. Seeking validation gets a bad reputation, and there are instances when it can become unhealthy, but in and of itself, it's not a negative thing. In fact, if I hadn't sought validation, I never would have gotten the help I needed from a professional because I never would have accepted or admitted that what happened to me was not okay.
Seeking Validation in the Right Places
We all seek validation at times (think about social media). Validation isn't evil; in fact, it can be a helpful asset in our lives. For example, think about a time you've vented to loved ones, and they offered you support and affirmations. This likely helped you move past the challenges you were facing by recognizing your feelings as worthwhile and well-founded.
The important thing is striking a balance. We don't want validation to be the sole driver behind every decision we make. Additionally, keep in mind who you're seeking validation from. Throughout my life, I often craved validation from men because I had deep self-worth wounds after the trauma I endured as a child. I also developed codependent friendships with people in which I felt I needed their approval to survive. This is when validation-seeking can get unhealthy.
Even so, shaming yourself will not make it better. Just practice self-awareness and surround yourself with good people. Work with a professional to boost your self-love and sense of worth, and be patient with yourself as you address these old patterns.
Caramela, S. (2023, August 7). It's Okay to Seek Validation from Others, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2023/8/its-okay-to-seek-validation-from-others