Listen to this story
I get you.
I get you because just like you, I’ve struggled with the overwhelming need to be validated every day like some parking ticket. I get you because just like you, I’ve reminded myself more than once that obsessing over my hair, my weight, and the fact that my hips are spreading like the horizon is opposite from what is acceptable and healthy thinking.
I get you because just like you, I used to think what I did wasn’t good enough unless somebody said it was.
I’d love to tell you I’m completely free of all that nonsense, but I can’t lie, I still have those days. I say that nonsense because that’s what other people say it is. Ridiculous, crazy, bogus. But it sure feels real, doesn’t it?
Although I’ve come a long way, the craving for affirmation-validation still edges its way into places where it does not belong.
My love language is words of affirmation. My husband does well with this, true story. Others speak words of encouragement as well. But sometimes I have this crazy idea that when there are no words of affirmation about what I’ve accomplished or how I look, it’s like people are saying to themselves: “My mother taught me if I can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Granted, I’m not even sure if all mothers teach this, but I’m thinking it’s a good probability since that’s what mothers do.
So girlfriend if this is you — if you are waiting for someone to say: “Hey there, _______, you are looking pretty great every day of your life” and “Hey there, _______, you are doing a fantastic job at whatever it is you do”, then this is for you:
You are and you are.
Because more than half the things we think people are thinking, they aren’t even thinking.
Because more than half the things we beat ourselves up about, aren’t even legit.
Because more than half of what we see as wrong with ourselves, people don’t even see, and if they do, it doesn’t look the same to them. It probably looks better and what does it matter?
Because more than half is pretty darn close to all. Which means our thought process has probably been all wrong more than half the time. In other words, our perception has been skewed.
Our insecurities feed on our obsession. We need to take our eyes off of our insecurities because without that obsessive focus, they will die off and true change will come.
We’re not the girl from high school who let herself go, or the girl at work who can’t do anything right. We’re the intelligent, bright, one-of-a-kind girl who has a lot to offer this world.
We can stop walking into restaurants, or work, or onto ball-fields, or beaches, or wherever our feet happen to take us with the old mindset full of thoughts like: “How do I look? Do I look okay? Is my hair okay? Is that extra roll showing? Are my arms covered enough? Did I stuff everything in? If only I looked like her…”
Instead of doing that, let’s do this:
Enjoy where we are and who we are with without feeling others need to affirm us at every turn. Let’s just be comfortable being us — the us we are right now, not the us we will be after we lose that weight or get that degree or land that job.
There’s an enemy of our soul who would rather see us wallowing than winning. An enemy who wants us so chained up in our own self-image battles, we can’t even see the real battle we need to be fighting. The battle for truth and light and what really matters.
The only affirmation we need is that we are here for a purpose and who doesn’t look and feel awesome fulfilling their purpose?
Pray to see through spiritual eyes because we are spiritual beings. Before we can be light we need to see light.
Let’s draw strength from our strengths. We have them. God has given them to us. Still need words of affirmation? His Word is full of them.
Maybe our outside self can use some work but our inside self is who we really are. Our inside self doesn’t wrinkle and dimple and travel south. Our inside self doesn’t need trips to the salon or jewelry or a tan. But our inside self does need a realignment from time to time. Ugly on the inside seeps right through the skin. How’s that for a word picture?
Our inside self needs a deep-rooted connection to the God of the universe. When our inside self is spiritually healthy our mindset will be healthier, too.
Our outside jars of clay may crack and crumble, but inside is where eternal things happen.
Maybe your love language is not words of affirmation and you don’t give a flying leap whether anyone thinks you’re a cutie patootie or smarter than a 5th grader. You’re thinking this all sounds shallow and whiny. You want to say just get over yourself.
But we all have our days and we all have our stuff that can feel like hands around our throats. We all need to be sensitive to that person next to us who may need a compassionate friend. Maybe you don’t struggle with this, but maybe she does. Reach out your hand and help her up.
So if you are the girl who needs validation, may I encourage you that you are not alone in these feelings that have made you feel bad about feeling them.
You can be satisfied with who you are and what you have accomplished without requiring validation from those around you. A kind word of affirmation and encouragement is sweet, but you don’t need it to prove your worth.
Soon you will find you can live without those affirming words just fine, even if it is your love language. As soon as you let go of having to hear those words, you’ll see that they will find you anyway.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3–4 (New International Version).
Be blessed, friend, because you are of great worth in God’s sight.
He has validated you.
Doris Swift is a the author of Goodbye, Regret: Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes. Get a free gift when you subscribe to her blog here. Follow her on Facebook & Twitter @DorisSSwift