Loving oneself without the validation of others

Bella Tollestrup-Wimbish

Importance of remembering where your value comes from


My speech and debate coach always said that the only person you have to beat is the person you were yesterday.

I will always hold this quote close as a reminder about how I feel about myself when I compare myself to other people. Sometimes it is hard not to compare myself to others and thus feel as though my worth does not measure up to that of someone whom I deem as better.

I have realized that this need to compare stems from the desire to be accepted by peers, family, friends and society. It comes from the fear of not feeling validated by others and loved ones.

But what I also realize is that if someone cannot truly love themselves, then they are not going to be able to find that love in other people no matter how hard they try. Everyone has heard the saying, “No one else can love you if you can’t love yourself.”

These words ring true; the older I get the more I ponder the why people need to feel validated by others to know their self worth. What is it about external validation that makes people feel good?

At the end of the day, being dependent on external validation to feel better about oneself is shallow, and will only last a short period of time. It is easy for people to fall into depression or become extremely insecure when they can’t find self-love within themselves.

We seek approval in others without approving of who they are. They feel as if it is necessary to fit a perfect mold to feel like they are worth something.

While being complimented feels great, we should not depend on praise to know our worth. We should not need the approval of others to make ourselves feel better, we should know that we are amazing. People often get caught up in the way that they think others see them and they forget to live life on their own terms.

In Elizabeth R. Thornton’s article “Do You Have An External Validation Mental Model,” she explains why people feel the need to have external validation. Something that she wrote that spoke to me was: “We are constantly trying to project an image of ourselves based on what we think others want, but since we really don’t know what they want, what we are really doing is deciding what we think they want and then trying to project that image. It’s a losing game.”

In reality, everyone else also carries the same insecurities and are too caught up in themselves to notice the anxieties of others, or what people would deem as their flaws.

In order to love ourselves, we need to make choices for ourselves that make us happy; we ought to do things that we enjoy and surround ourselves with people who are not going to use us.

We want to be able to know ourselves and grow as an individual, we should be able to answer ourselves instead of feeling the need to answer other people.

We should not let others make our choices for us because we want their approval, we ought to do what is right for our own hearts and souls. We should make achievements for ourselves, not to please others.

At the end of the day, we have ourselves and we do not need anyone else. No one else can pick us up when we fall. We can only do that for ourselves. We can’t let people discourage us because of what others want from us.

People can sometimes demand a lot; don’t let people take you off of your path because of what they want. You do not need to please everyone.