How to overcome the need to seek validation from others?

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    Ian Ting

    After being cut off by someone you loved (unrequited), I feel like I have lost faith in myself. As a guy, I feel that I do not have much to offer. I am short, do not have the looks, do not come from a rich family (just middle income), not humorous, introverted and shy. How do you overcome the need to seek validation from others? How can I be more confident with all these flaws?


    Rejection highlights our insecurities, it’s the nature of rejection, looking for a reason that we were rejected and highlighting all the things in ourselves that we feel may have let us down or that will lead us to being rejected again in the future.

    Truth is all these flaws you mention are like building a big protective barrier around yourself, if you highlight these flaws in yourself you may feel as though you are protecting yourself from further hurt and preempting what others may think, which is probably far from the truth. I doubt when people meet you they think God he’s really short and you can tell he’s from a middle income family?!

    Start taking steps towards loving yourself, do things that you enjoy for you, take part in activities that make you feel alive, surround yourself with people that care about you and your happiness and break the cycle of negative thoughts. Once you truly love yourself you won’t feel the need to be validated by others, we have to learn to love from the inside out. It’s hard and it’s a journey I am taking myself at the minute. I find sometimes its easier to look for validation from others instead of looking into myself for the answer. But the more I kick the habit the more I love the decisions I make and the less I doubt myself, and I’m happier overall in all aspects of my life.

    I know the more I love myself the more able I am to love others, and the love is more real.

    Have faith in yourself, all the best x

    Rock Banana

    these things are judgements you are making about yourself, not who you are. In reality no words can describe you, a word like “introverted” for instance represents a concept in your mind, it is just a thought, in reality you are not “introverted” or “extroverted”, “humorous” or “not humorous”, these words are overgeneralized concepts which you are imposing onto your sense of self in your mind. So in that sense there’s nothing you need to do – because you don’t have to change yourself; you just have to come to realize that these thoughts you are having about yourself are not who you are. The reason what people think about you is irrelevant is because they are just creating judgements about you too, they are never actually describing you. In fact they’re not even making judgements about you, they’re making judgements about their PERCEPTIONS of you, because they can’t experience you directly; they have to do so through the perceptions and workings of their own nervous systems.

    “How can I be more confident with all these flaws?” – By disbelieving the thinking that is creating the flaws in your mind.

    I’m not saying it’s as simple as just reading that and then that’s it, because it obviously isn’t. But I hope what I’ve written is at least a helpful pointer for you.



    Those things really don’t matter. Sure, there’s no denying the fact that if you’re tall, dark and handsome then you will get more attention from the ladies in clubs, and probably everywhere really, just as a woman who looks like a Barbie doll will have lots of guys chasing her. But the thing to realise is that all those people giving the attention are attracted for superficial reasons, and as such don’t really like the real you, are not pursuing you because of who you are as a person. Sure, you can go out with these people, but the whole thing is just shallow and you are better off without it. When I think about the people I’ve been most attracted to in my life, on a deep level not just looks, it’s like their appearance was just secondary to what was really attracting me. In other words, the relationships really worth having are those where there is a true spark, not some superficial surface level attraction, which leads to an inevitably unfulfilling situation – I’ve experienced this and I’ve spoken to others who have too – you’re better off without it.

    In time, you will learn to be OK with who you are and I’ve observed time and time again that this is very attractive to others. People who you would judge to have no chance with women based on their physical appearance can do amazingly well because they are so self-accepting. But to be honest, I don’t think you even need to worry about any of this full stop, including attracting a woman, period. Why I say this is, ask yourself why this important to you? Why do you want/need a woman? You think it will feel good, make you happy, be fulfilling or something right. Well yes it will be all those things, but it still won’t be enough. There will still be a yearning for more. The highest happiness and fulfilment cannot be attained from someone else (or anything external for that matter), seek that instead. If you do that you will come to a place where you no longer need a woman. Incidentally, you will be more attractive because you no longer need it, knowing that can be a good incentive in itself to get there, but once you start to experience this deepest happiness, having a woman really won’t be a priority anymore, it won’t be that drain on your energy which it probably is now. This has been my experience. This also opens the way to the most healthy relationship, when two people no longer need each other, since they are already full by themselves. Therefore, there is only a giving, an exchange, rather than a selfish taking to fill your own lack. This is what true love is. If you look around, you will see that most relationships out there are pretty co-dependent because most people don’t do the inner work.

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 2 months ago by AikiBen.
    Adam P

    Hi there iantingtw,

    It’s simple, It’s cliché, It’s:
    REJECTION IS PROTECTION ( I know some people may include Life/God’s protection, feel free).
    Rejection hurts for all of us whether it be with another person or for a job. You know when you hear the phrase; “Boy I sure dodged that bullet.” Or hear stories about individuals who found a better job or met a much healthier individual to share their life with after rejection, well why can’t that happen to you as well?
    As others have mentioned, when you begin or get back to loving yourself, then you certainly understand the meaning behind this phrase and want only the best for yourself and stop the seeking of validation from others and understand that sometimes the things you thought you wanted the most were not the best for you.
    As for your personality, you stated that you are an introvert. BE PROUD OF IT. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert. I myself am an introvert and enjoy every moment of it. When out in a crowd, I can be a social butterfly, but of course the downside is I “absorb” so much of everyone else’s energy and emotions that it becomes draining on me and I need rest. Us introverts are great because why everyone else is off talking talking talking in the rooms, we are able to recharge and slowly capture the entire room’s attention with our “quiet” yet strong presence/discussion. Here’s a little confidence booster, those introverted individuals are the ones everyone talks about after the party, gathering, etc. wanting to know more about.
    As for a way that you can improve your personality and behavior around others would be to have a strong interest in something and share it with others when out and about in public. Have you traveled around the US or the world? Well if that’s the case, don’t be scared to share your stories with others and even if you have never traveled and are interested in travel, my advice to you would be to READ. Read as much as you can about different countries and one day when you’re talking to someone who has visited Lichtenstein, you can mention or even go into detail about a certain historical monument or fact such as that there is no border control between them and Switzerland (See how easy to incorporate it into the conversation).
    Or how about technology? Everyone uses technology in some shape/form. People are always looking to upgrade their pieces of technology such as laptops and smartphones. There are so many people out there that own smartphones/laptops and not know all the complete functions and aspects of their technological devices (including I). Just imagine having that confidence to educate others about all the differences among Apple, Android/Google, Windows when it comes to smartphones and laptops and the history of each company.
    Don’t see it as trying to learn so much info. in one sitting whether you’re at school or work, just do a little bit of light reading while on your lunch break/ free time, etc. When you get home, if there’s no necessary work needed to be done and you don’t have anyone to hang out with, just go online and learn/ read and educate yourself whether it be travel, technology, etc. so that when you are out you can apply everything that you learned about yourself and the subjects and show yourself off to others.
    I hope I was able to serve some assistance you. Best of luck.


    “Rejection is protection” is a cliche? I’ve honestly never heard that before. And I’m not sure I understand what you mean.

    Ian, Rock Banana and Aiki Ben have already given you some great advice. I just wanted to say that your “all these flaws” made me smile. Look at me! I have all these flaws!

    Honey, if you’re physically intact, can pay for your own lunch and you’re mentally mostly together, you’ve got as much of a shot as anyone. There are plenty of people who don’t have those advantages, and who do just fine. Don’t compare yourself with others and say, oh no, he’s so good looking, oh no, he’s taller than me, oh no, his family is rich. So what, man? What’s that got to do with you?

    You are you. That’s what you have to offer. Dive deeper into the things that make you you, and work on getting better bringing those to the front. Don’t try to impress people, just try to enjoy and explore life. That’s the really important part, anyway.

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