THE BLOG
10/06/2016 11:47 am ET Updated Oct 06, 2017

Seeking External Validation

Lately I have noticed a discontent within myself, one that has led me to start seeking validation from others rather than looking inward and seeking my own gifts and talents as validation of who I am.

This is a dangerous path so many of us so often end up on, we find that we are discontent with our lives, relationships, families, careers, friends etc. and believe that the answer often lies with making enormous changes to the life we currently live. We change jobs, spouses, move cities, begin traveling, start a fitness or diet regime all in an attempt to gain the allusive approval of others in society.

This topic is one that I have a deep personal relationship with as I have struggled to feel validated throughout most of my life. I can remember back a few years ago before I took on the enormous task of changing my entire life, I used to think that everything that I ever wanted in life lay on the other side of skinny, and when I would just lose the damn weight my entire life would be what I always imagined. I placed so much emphasis on the power of my weight determining my life that I completely forgot that I was the person in control of my life (and subsequently my weight even though I thought it controlled me). Countless times I believe that my worth was in the vehicle I drove, the paycheque I earned, the friends and circle of influence that I had, my house, clothes etc. and no matter how flashy or expensive all of those things were in reality they never were enough to allow me to feel safe or deserving of the life I had. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop and people to find out that I was a faker, because I didn't believe in my own worth and all of my belief was tied up in superficial, external sources and experiences.

For so long I had been waiting to lose weight and enjoy life, for my Prince Charming to arrive and sweep me off my feet, my perfect job to appear and life to explode with greatness that I completely failed to give my own self (my thoughts, feelings, capabilities) any credit for being where I was and more importantly where I was not. One day I looked in the mirror and then at the scale and I realized that I had in fact lost the weight that I thought was weighing me down and I realized that everything else in my life was exactly the same. Life didn't magically open up because I was thinner, jobs didn't suddenly appear because my clothes were smaller and I certainly didn't gain the wisdom and clarity that I believed to be reserved for the skinny population. In fact, I was left more confused and angry than ever before because it meant that for years I had been reading this situation all wrong. I had been putting my stock in something, anything other than myself and that had failed me. The realization was a true awakening for me, one that has challenged, changed and bettered me since the day my eyes were opened to what the truth was. My validation lies solely in myself, when you think you can or you can't you are right. For so long I believed that I couldn't do anything other than exist in this boring, superficial life that I had created and though I longed for something different I didn't believe in myself enough to chase my dreams. Instead I placed blame where it didn't belong and I attributed my failures to my physical being rather than my mental and emotional conditioning.

It was like waking up from a dream only to realize that you have been waiting for something imaginary to save you. My imagination had created this belief system within me that said I was no good where I was at (physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, you name it) and that I needed to pursue MORE to be happy. I needed more clothes, a newer car, more money, more friends all to fill the void that I felt within myself. I never once thought that changing my mind was the way to go, but when I did change my mind all other conversations with myself and others changed as well. Suddenly I was able to see through the superficial crap that we are fed daily about our worth tied into other aspects of life, and I saw that my truest beauty had always existed within me just as I was.

It is so hard not to buy into the marketing that we are inundated with daily, use this cream or drive that car, buy this and wear that. It is all designed to keep us from realizing that we need nothing external to be the most incredible beings that we can be, as all that we need already exists within ourselves. When we fail to recognize the gifts, talents and beauty that we own there is a continuous cycle of seeking validation from other people and other things. Often we end up in one or many relationships that we know in our hearts are wrong for us (or we engage in multiple relationships at the same time, seeking that feeling of desire and validation from the desires of others toward ourselves). Sexuality became a weapon I wielded in an attempt to fill the loneliness in me, I thought if people desired me it would mean that I was worthy or attractive or special but even when I had the attention I craved it was never enough. No matter how much money I made it was never enough, my house was never enough. in short, I was never enough until the day I realized that nothing would ever be good enough until I felt good enough raw, naked and without any of the layers society had told me I needed.

I still struggle and fall at times, I have days of insecurity and vulnerability as I navigate through life and there are moments that stretch into days where I feel discontent with myself and seek comfort and validation elsewhere. The difference now though is that those moments are short lived, they are few and far between and I am able to safely recognize them as a warning that I have inner work to do before I find outer peace.

Look within first and foremost, you will always find what you need when you look inside yourself.

Much love, T