Have you ever met someone who seems to constantly need your approval or praise? They often seek reassurance for their actions, choices, or existence. This can feel overwhelming, right?
But don’t fret. There are some practical, easy-to-follow steps you can take to navigate these tricky waters and help your loved ones find their footing. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What Validation Means And Why It Matters In Our Minds
- Understanding And Empathy
- Communication And Interaction
- Boundaries And Support
- Self-Esteem And Confidence
- Personal Growth And Self-Awareness
- Development And Education
- The Impact of Consistent Validation Seeking Behavior
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What should I avoid doing when interacting with someone who constantly seeks validation?
- Why is self-validation better than external validation?
- How can one balance seeking validation from others and self-validation?
- As a parent, how can I prevent my child from becoming a constant validation seeker in the future?
- In what scenarios is seeking validation considered healthy?
What Validation Means And Why It Matters In Our Minds
Validation is like saying, “I hear you, I see you, and what you feel and think matters.” It’s a powerful message that can make people feel accepted and understood.
When someone validates your feelings or thoughts, it means they understand you, or at least they are trying to. It helps to build connections between people. This kind of connection is vital for our relationships with friends, family, and other people in our lives.
Related: How to Validate Someone’s Feelings
Fact: Researchers have found that when people feel validated, they feel more connected to others and happier in their relationships.
Why Do We Always Look For Validation?
Here’s a look at some reasons why people might seek validation from others all the time:
Link to Self-Esteem and Self-Worth
When we don’t feel good about ourselves, we look to others to make us feel better. We want to hear that we’re doing okay. This can make us feel better for a bit. But the thing is, this good feeling can wear off pretty quickly. When it does, we may start to doubt ourselves again.
Over time, this cycle can make us feel even more unsure. We start to think that we need others to tell us we’re good enough. We start to believe that without their approval, we’re not okay.
Association with Past Experiences or Traumas
If we’ve been let down or hurt before, it can make us feel scared. We worry that it could happen again. So, we look for reassurance from others. When they tell us we’re okay, it makes us feel safe.
While this can make us feel better, it doesn’t help us deal with our past hurts. We might feel safe for a while, but the fear and pain remain.
Connections with Various Mental Health Conditions
Sometimes, wanting validation all the time can be a sign of mental health issues, like if we’re always scared about what others think of us or if we often feel bad about ourselves. Getting validation can help us feel better for a while.
But it isn’t the same as getting help. If this happens often, it could be a sign of a mental health issue. In this case, it can be really helpful to talk to a professional.
Common Traits Of Individuals Seeking Constant Validation
Here are some signs that a person might be looking for validation a lot:
- They often ask others what to do: They want to know what others think before deciding on something. It’s like they’re unsure about their own choices.
- They doubt themselves a lot: Even when they do something well, they might not feel good about it. They want others to tell them they did a good job.
- They’re sensitive to criticism: They take it hard when someone says something negative about them. They might worry a lot about it, even if it’s just a small thing.
- They try hard to make others happy: They want to be liked and accepted. So, they often do things to please others, even if it’s not what they really want.
- They worry a lot about what others think: They often wonder if others like them or approve of them. They might feel bad or upset if they think someone doesn’t like them.
- They need constant reassurance: They often ask others if they’re doing okay, looking good, or behaving properly. They need regular confirmation from others to feel confident.
Remember, it’s okay to seek validation sometimes. But if someone is always looking for it, they might need help to build their own self-confidence and self-worth.
Having explored validation, its motivations, and its signs, let’s now discuss how to respond to those who constantly seek it. Let’s dive into some helpful strategies to deal with them.
Understanding And Empathy
1. Practice Active Listening
When dealing with someone needing constant validation, listening carefully is crucial. Active listening involves giving them your full attention and showing genuine interest in what they’re saying.
Keep your eyes on them, nod occasionally, and repeat or paraphrase their words to demonstrate your understanding.
For example: If they say, “I feel like I failed,” you could respond, “You’re feeling like you didn’t do well, is that right?” This simple action reassures them that their feelings are important and valid.
2. Be Self-Aware
Remember, someone else’s need for validation is not about you. It’s about their own insecurities. This awareness can prevent you from feeling guilty or responsible for their happiness. So, take a step back and understand that it’s not about your actions but about their internal struggle.
3. Avoid Judgment
Validating their feelings does not mean you have to agree with them. It simply means acknowledging that their feelings are real and valid. Avoid judging or minimizing their experiences.
For example, instead of saying, “It’s not a big deal,” say, “I can see that this is upsetting for you.” These little changes in communication can make a huge difference in how they perceive your response.
4. Show Empathy
In the words of Stephen Covey:
When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.
Showing empathy means understanding their perspective and validating their emotions, even if they’re different from yours. This helps them feel seen and understood.
5. Be Patient
Remember, changing long-standing behaviors takes time. Be patient and understanding with them as they learn to navigate their insecurities and need for validation. Your support can significantly impact their journey toward self-confidence and self-acceptance.
Communication And Interaction
6. Maintain Open Communication
Maintain open, respectful, and assertive communication about how their need for validation impacts you. It’s okay to express that you might feel overwhelmed or drained by their constant need for reassurance.
Tip: Use "I" statements to express your feelings without blaming them. For instance, instead of saying, "You always need reassurance," you can say, "I sometimes feel pressured when I'm asked to provide constant reassurance."
7. Encourage Broader Social Interaction
It can be beneficial to encourage them to engage with others. This way, they can expand their support network and not rely solely on you for validation.
For example, suggest joining clubs, volunteering, or participating in social events. This approach can also help them gain confidence and reduce their reliance on validation.
8. Validate Privately
Not everyone feels comfortable receiving compliments in public. If this is the case, make sure to provide validation in private. This way, they can absorb and appreciate your words without feeling the pressure of other people’s attention.
Boundaries And Support
9. Set Boundaries
Establishing boundaries regarding what kind and how much validation you can provide is essential. Remember, it’s okay not to be available 24/7.
Explain these limits kindly and firmly. You might say, “I understand you need reassurance, but there are times when I’m unable to provide it immediately.”
10. Provide Reassurance
As a friend, partner, or loved one, regularly remind them of your care and appreciation. Simple words like “I value our relationship” or “I care about your feelings” can go a long way in providing reassurance.
11. Recommend Professional Help
If their need for validation is causing severe distress, you might suggest seeking professional help. Therapists and counselors can provide tools and techniques to manage the constant need for validation in a healthier way.
You can also offer to help them look up local therapists or share resources about online therapy options.
Self-Esteem And Confidence
12. Encourage Self-validation
Teach them to find validation from within by acknowledging their own accomplishments. This can be as simple as:
- Finishing a book.
- Cooking a new recipe.
- Getting out of bed on a tough day.
Recognizing these small victories can boost their confidence and reduce the need for external validation.
Tip: Suggest they keep a "success journal" to write down their accomplishments, big or small.
13. Celebrate Successes
Make a point to recognize their successes, big or small. Whether they aced a test, completed a project, or successfully navigated a challenging situation, reinforce their behavior and celebrate it. This will give them a confidence boost and motivate them to keep striving.
14. Highlight Their Perseverance
Acknowledge their determination and tenacity. If they’ve been working hard on something or battling difficulties, point out their strength and perseverance. This recognition can help them build resilience and reduce their need for validation.
Fact: Recognizing effort can encourage a growth mindset, which is the belief that abilities can be developed with effort and practice.
15. Encourage Independence
Promoting independence can foster self-trust. Encourage them to make decisions independently, even if it’s something as small as choosing a meal or planning a day out. This can help them believe in their abilities and lessen the need for external validation.
Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.– Dr. Benjamin Spock
16. Promote Self-Love
Encourage regular self-care and affirmation practices. This might involve exercise, meditation, journaling, or simply taking some time out to relax. These practices can improve their self-esteem and overall well-being.
As Lao Tzu once said, “Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others.” This idea is central to self-love and can help reduce the need for constant validation.
Personal Growth And Self-Awareness
17. Offer a Broader Perspective
Sometimes, they might get stuck in their limited viewpoint. Here’s where you can help them see beyond this and understand the bigger picture. If they feel upset because they didn’t get the job they wanted, remind them of other opportunities or the chance to improve and try again.
The wider the lens of perception, the more you can understand and appreciate the beauty of life.– Bryant McGill
18. Avoid Comparison
Encourage them not to compare themselves with others. Comparisons can often lead to feelings of inadequacy. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Instead, motivate them to focus on their progress and unique strengths.
19. Encourage Emotional Self-Awareness
Assist them in identifying their emotional triggers and dealing with them appropriately. If they understand what triggers their need for validation, they can better manage their responses.
For instance, if they feel neglected when not included in a group activity, they can communicate their feelings openly or find ways to self-validate.
20. Teach Acceptance of Failures
Promote the idea that failure is a part of life and doesn’t reflect their worth. It’s essential to know that every successful person has faced failures.
Related: Overcoming Fear of Failure
For example, Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before inventing the light bulb. This can inspire them to see failures as steps toward success rather than setbacks.
Mistakes are the portals of discovery.– James Joyce
21. Encourage Growth
Urge them to perceive mistakes or failures as opportunities for growth rather than defeat. This is known as a “growth mindset,” a concept developed by psychologist Carol Dweck.
Those with a growth mindset believe abilities and intelligence can be developed over time, leading to resilience and a love for learning. For example, after a setback, ask them, “What can you learn from this?”
Development And Education
22. Provide Constructive Feedback
When giving feedback, focus on behavior rather than character. This can make criticism feel less personal and more actionable.
For instance, instead of saying, “You’re too needy,” you could say, “I noticed that you frequently ask for reassurance. Let’s find ways for you to feel more secure.”
Tip: Use the "sandwich method" for feedback: start with something positive, then the criticism, and end on a positive note.
23. Teach Coping Strategies
Introduce them to tools like meditation, deep-breathing exercises, or yoga to manage anxiety. These methods can promote relaxation, improve focus, and foster inner peace.
Tip: Guided meditation apps or videos can be a great starting point for beginners.
24. Reiterate Their Progress
Don’t forget to remind them of the progress they’ve made over time. Whether they’ve grown more self-aware, developed better-coping mechanisms, or become less reliant on external validation, recognizing these improvements can boost their confidence and motivate them to continue their growth.
Progress is not achieved by luck or accident,– Epictetus
but by working on yourself daily.
The Impact of Consistent Validation Seeking Behavior
When a person is always looking for validation, it can affect them and the people around them in different ways.
|They rely too much on others
|The person seeking validation starts relying too much on others for their self-worth and may forget how to trust their own feelings and thoughts. This can harm their confidence over time.
|John always asks his friends what they think before he makes any decisions. He doubts his own judgment and relies heavily on their opinions.
|People around the validation-seeker might feel pressured to always give praise and worry about upsetting them. This can put a strain on relationships and make open, honest communication difficult.
|Lisa finds herself constantly praising her partner to keep him happy. She feels she can’t be honest about her feelings because it might upset him.
|The constant search for validation can be emotionally draining for everyone. The validation-seeker may feel anxious or stressed without approval, while those around them might feel tired or stressed constantly providing validation.
|Mike feels anxious whenever his posts on social media don’t get many likes. His friends feel obliged to like and comment on all his posts, which leaves them feeling drained.
|Hindered personal growth
|The constant need for approval can stop personal growth. The validation-seeker may avoid risks or new opportunities due to fear of disapproval.
|Sarah has a great business idea but fears it won’t be well-received. So, she sticks to her routine job, missing out on a chance to grow.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I avoid doing when interacting with someone who constantly seeks validation?
Interacting with someone who constantly seeks validation can be tricky. Here’s what you should avoid doing:
Overvalidating: While it’s essential to make them feel heard and understood, too much validation can lead to dependency. They may start to rely solely on your approval, which can hamper their ability to self-validate.
Ignoring their needs: Completely ignoring their need for validation might make them feel rejected or unseen. Instead, try to understand their needs and provide balanced responses.
Being judgmental or critical: Try not to judge them for their need for validation. Criticism can make them feel more insecure, which might increase their need for validation.
Providing false validation: Avoid giving praise or approval just for the sake of it. Be sincere with your validation. False validation might give temporary relief, but it can lead to long-term harm if the person becomes reliant on it.
Why is self-validation better than external validation?
Self-validation is seen as healthier because it supports independence and self-esteem. When you validate yourself, you’re not reliant on others to feel good. This source of self-worth is consistent, unlike external opinions that can change or might not always be available.
Moreover, self-validation fosters personal growth as you acknowledge your own achievements and flaws, motivating you to improve. This leads to stronger self-trust and a healthy sense of self-worth.
How can one balance seeking validation from others and self-validation?
Balancing external validation and self-validation involves a blend of introspection, self-awareness, and self-confidence. Here are some tips:
Listen to others, but trust yourself: It’s okay to seek opinions and feedback from others. However, ultimately, trust your own judgment and feelings. You know yourself better than anyone else.
Seek constructive feedback: Ask for feedback to help you improve and grow rather than just seeking approval.
Celebrate your successes: When you achieve something, allow yourself to feel proud. You don’t need others to recognize your achievements for them to be valid.
Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself. It’s okay to make mistakes or not be perfect. Give yourself the understanding and kindness you would give to a friend.
As a parent, how can I prevent my child from becoming a constant validation seeker in the future?
– Start by setting a healthy example of self-esteem and confidence.
– Regularly express self-worth, display self-compassion, and avoid external validation dependency.
– Encourage open communication about emotions and promote the idea that it’s okay to make mistakes.
– Most importantly, give your child consistent, appropriate validation to foster a balanced sense of self-worth.
In what scenarios is seeking validation considered healthy?
Seeking validation is healthy in many scenarios. Here are a few:
When learning something new: If you’re learning a new skill or trying a new task, seeking validation can help you gauge your progress and know where you stand.
During significant life changes: If you’re going through a major life change, like a career shift or a move, validation from others can provide reassurance and support.
For constructive criticism: Seeking validation in the form of feedback can help you improve and grow. It’s a healthy way to identify areas for improvement.
In relationships: It’s healthy to seek validation in relationships, as it can reinforce bonds and create a sense of understanding and connection.
Keep in mind that it’s completely normal to seek validation from others occasionally, as long as you’re not entirely dependent on it for your self-worth.
Dealing with someone who constantly seeks validation can be challenging, but with empathy, understanding, and the right strategies, you can make a big difference.
Remember, it’s not about making them reliant on you but guiding them to find self-worth and validation within themselves. This journey will not only be rewarding for them but for you, too, as you foster a healthier, more balanced relationship.
So go ahead, lend your ear, extend your patience, and be the pillar of support they need on their path to self-confidence.
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