Our Need for Validation: Healthy or Unhealthy?
I clearly remember the day I stumbled upon Elaine Aron’s self-test for highly sensitive people. As I checked yes to question after question, my life was suddenly illuminated! Now I understood why I had always felt different and a bit isolated from other people. Having a word for it and research that validates my very way of being has been a life changer.
Flash forward four years later, as each month I open my home as a gathering place for a community of HSPs. Our ‘regulars’ arrive and joyfully reconnect.
Then I observe new members with immense courage to show up at a strange home with people they don’t know; holding a glimmer of hope that maybe someone will understand and accept them.
We do. We get you.
We have the same types of experiences as sensitive people. We feel the same joy in our abilities and struggle with the same challenges of an overstimulating world.
We affirm you are exactly who you are meant to be, who you are is amazing and sensitivity is your greatest strength.
Our members have literally wept from the relief and comfort of being recognized.
This is healthy validation.
This year, I created a personal affirmation:
‘I release attachment to praise and criticism from others’
Of course anytime you set an intention, immediately things start to show up in your life to test your resolve. To provide an opportunity to dive deeper. To practice what you preach.
This is not to say that I no longer care what other people think or I am not willing to listen to their opinions. On the contrary, I’ve had more opportunity to explore others’ opinions than ever before.
My affirmation is about stepping back to a more objective place. Learning how to release defensiveness, how not to take things personally. How to see the lesson that is being presented. Questioning what is this situation teaching me about myself?
What happens when we feel pressured to conform, to flex, to adapt ourselves to someone else’s expectations? When someone’s opinion of us becomes our opinion of ourselves. When we ignore signals in our body, our mind, our heart that clearly tell us something is not right.
That is an unhealthy need for validation.
We actually lose a vital piece of ourselves which takes a long time and a lot of inner work to get back.