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mw editorial

the pros and cons of external validation

November 25, 2022

We all know that feel-good feeling we get when someone likes our new outfit or when we get a bunch of likes on our latest Instagram post. That’s because we’ve received external validation; validation from sources outside of ourselves. And while there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of external validation now and again, we can’t rely on it to boost our self-esteem or determine our worth. Why? Because external validation is based on the actions of others, and as we all know, other people’s actions are out of our control.

So what are the pros and cons of external validation? Let’s take a look:

Pros of External Validation

1. It can boost our confidence

It can be easy to doubt ourselves and our abilities, but when someone else affirms that we are doing a good job, it can help us feel more confident. External validation can also help us see ourselves in a more positive light and remind us that we can achieve great things, especially if we’re struggling with self-doubt or low self-esteem.

2. It can make us feel good

In addition to boosting our confidence, external validation can also make us feel good about ourselves. It reassures us that we are doing something correctly or that we are loved and appreciated by others, leading to an increase in our overall happiness and sense of wellbeing.

3. It can help us feel connected

When we receive validation from others, it can help us feel more connected to them. This can deepen our relationships and make us feel more supported, especially when feeling isolated or lonely.

Cons of External Validation

1. It can take a toll on our self-esteem

If we’re constantly seeking validation from others, we can start to believe that our worthiness is contingent on what others think of us. Low self-esteem can lead to unhealthy levels of self-consciousness and self-doubt.

2. It can lead to people-pleasing

When we place too much importance on what others think, we can start to sacrifice our wants and needs to please them. This can be damaging to our relationships and our mental health.

3. It’s not always accurate

External validation is not always accurate. Just because someone says we’re good at something doesn’t mean we are. And just because someone else says we’re not good at something doesn’t mean we actually aren’t.

4. It can be addicting

Just like anything else, external validation can be addicting. We can become addicted to the positive feelings it gives us and start to seek it out constantly, making us feel disappointed or anxious when we don’t receive it.

So what can we do instead? Find validation from within

Finding validation from within means looking to ourselves for approval and acceptance. It means recognizing our accomplishments and giving ourselves credit when we do something well. And even though this can be a challenge, it’s worth it.

When we learn to validate ourselves, we become our own biggest fans. We no longer need to seek approval from others because we know that we are enough, just as we are.

If you’re struggling to find validation from within, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Acknowledge your accomplishments, no matter how small
  2. Give yourself credit when you do something well
  3. Be gentle with yourself when you make a mistake
  4. Seek out supportive people who will lift you, not tear you down
  5. Practice self-compassion and learn to treat yourself with kindness and understanding.


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