You may realize you’ve given too much of your strength to everyone else and have come to where you have forgotten who you are - who you used to be.
Especially if you are an autistic person, you may have spent so much of your life masking that you might not know who you are.
As children we learn how to mimic the behavior of other kids because all we want is to have friends and fit in, which becomes even more important to us as teenagers.
We reach adulthood, never being ourselves.
Sometimes the first step to figuring out who we actually are starts with learning how to validate yourself.
Personal Validation Definition
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of self-validation is, “the feeling of having recognized, confirmed, or established one’s own worthiness or legitimacy.”
How to Stop Needing External Validation
This is probably the biggest habit to break.
Relying on external validation to feel a sense of self-worth traps you in a miserable cycle.
You will feel a high from a compliment or someone laughing at your jokes, but the rise in self-esteem doesn’t last as long.
Shortly after, you might hear a compliment or constructive criticism. Their comment doesn’t give you the same rush you got from the last compliment, so you wonder, do they not like me?
Maybe their response isn’t as enthusiastic or as animated as we had hoped it would be.
It’s easy to assume the worst and read into someone’s words incorrectly.
Once we come down from the momentary high, all it leaves you with is yourself.
If you don’t learn to appreciate and accept yourself for who you are, you might not find the level of peace you desire.
Internal and External Validation
External validation comes from needing approval in order to feel worthy of love, success, happiness, and peace.
Internal validation starts with what you think and say about yourself.
Have you ever had thoughts like, “I mess up everything! Why can’t I do anything right?”
Saying things like this to yourself can be abusive, and immediately you will feel crushed.
Whatever high you developed from an outside compliment, comes crashing down the moment we have harmful thoughts towards ourselves.
Which is why internal self-validation is one of the most important actions you can take.
How to Validate Yourself
You may ask, “How do I validate myself?”
There are actionable steps you can take towards recovering your self-worth.
It’s not a guaranteed method to fix everything in your life, but it could help you withstand the outside world a little better.
Remember, all of my advice is an opinion based on the wisdom I’ve gained throughout my life. I have been through more hardships than anyone can imagine, so I know deep down what it is like to feel a sense of self-hatred. I am now a confident person, know my worth, and do not accept abusive or negative treatment from anyone.
How to Reassure Yourself
We all make mistakes in our lives, and there is nothing wrong with messing up occasionally.
None of us are perfect, even people you might admire or envy.
If you make an honest mistake, look at what you can do better next time and correct yourself.
We all have to adjust our sails at some point and change direction.
Saying reassuring things to yourself can go a long way, such as, “It’s okay. I’ll figure out a better way to do this next time. I always do.”
Your thoughts create your actions. If you accept your mistake as a failure and that you should give up, you’ll never know where you could have gone in life.
Validation of Self-Worth
To validate your own self-worth, know what you are worth.
There are many people out there who will criticize you and make you feel you need to defend yourself.
Instead, knowing your own worth will allow you to think, “I don’t deserve this.” And you can walk away from the situation.
Validation of Feelings
It may seem strange taking advice on validation of feelings from someone with alexithymia, but I have some level of emotional awareness.
When you feel worn down after someone berates you with negativity, it's hard to accept our feelings about what they said to us.
You may feel down and hopeless from the verbal lashing.
Recognize the emotions you are having and accept them as real and justified.
Allow yourself to feel your emotions, know your worth, and then you can pick up and move on.
I am going to present a few hypothetical situations to you. I will describe the situation, what a negative response could be, and what a self-validating response might sound like.
Situation 1: You talk to a close relative or person in your life, and they spend 30 minutes telling you everything they think is wrong with you.
Self-loathing response: “They’re right. Why am I such a failure? I’ll never amount to anything.”
Self-validating response: “I don’t deserve this. No one has the right to talk to me this way.”
Remember, there is a difference between constructive criticism and abuse.
Situation 2: You encounter a challenge which appears to be harder than you expected.
Self-loathing response: “I can’t do this. It’s too hard. I should just give up. I’ll never be able to do it, anyway.”
Self-validating response: “Just get it done. I can do this. I’ll figure it out.”
When you feel validated, you become more confident and self-assured.
It doesn’t make you arrogant or full of yourself, you just know your worth.
You can still be the same kind, giving, compassionate, and empathetic person you are, while still maintaining your self worth and confidence.
How to Validate Someone
According to the website VeryWellMind, when you validate someone’s emotions, you are not only hearing how they feel but also accepting their feelings as well.
When you are autistic, and if you have alexithymia, it is a bit more challenging to learn how to validate a neurotypical person’s feelings.
We care about other people, we just don’t know how to express it in a language they understand.
It can seem tempting to tell someone who is experiencing an emotion that they’re being illogical, but sometimes it is best if we just listen and acknowledge that we understand.
It may not always make sense to us, but as long as we try - that’s what matters.