Personal Recognition. The need for approval. What that friend said about me last night. The beam in my crush’s eyes when s/he looks at me. My years of working hard for a company that has given me little to show for it. Oh my gosh – how far down the rabbit hole of our subconscious does our attachment to these things determine the decisions we make in life?
Etched in the rock bottom of our infamous ego it all comes to spell out one word: validation. From the apparel we pick out to wear each day to the friends we choose, how we give and receive compliments, the self-conscious level of exposing dance moves when we get down to boogie to the long-term agreements we make for earning certifications and degrees to get a job – beneath it all we are driven by a need for validation.
Validation is simply the affirmation in some form that justifies the choices we make. It’s associated with our sense of confidence as well as sating the inner ego, which tends to frequently search for confirmed recognition outside of itself.
“Am I still here?”
“Am I getting the attention I’m looking for with the choices and effort I make?”
“Does this shirt look good?”
“Does my employer, do my colleagues and clients really appreciate me and what I do?”
“Am I beautiful?”
“This cookie will make me feel better.”
Ah, and oh how that cookie does its job sometimes. But the more particular point here is those previous questions that are running through our minds on a daily basis under the layers of everything else that demands our immediate attention. Is this a joke? It’s almost unimaginable how much the need for validation penetrates nearly every area of our lives and our decision-making process. It’s like staring into a reflection pool that, commonly unaware to many people, goes immeasurably deeper than what we see on the surface.
Go ahead, invite clarity to the depths of your mind – ask yourself the questions above! Provide a quiet space in your mind for the answers to surface. What responses rise to the top?
There is no judgement here and in fact, that’s what’s encouraged. The need for validation is something neutral, simply confirming for ourselves what makes us happy – really happy – with who we are and expressing that through our interests, regardless of judgement, good or bad.
The source that we seek that validation from is what makes the difference. When we ask ourselves questions such as the ones above, the answers that we can honestly give ourselves are what determine if we could use a little mental nudge in a better direction, or if we’re already on the healthy high road.
Communicating with the Ego
Our ego does its old job by giving us what we want, immediately attaching itself to whatever we tell ourselves we need, whether it’s actually good for us or not. In a sense, it’s doing what it thinks is best for us, protecting us, by meeting our conscious demands. The only way it works against us is when we don’t realize that perhaps our immediate demands satisfy our wants without measuring up to the highest interest of our needs.
I want that cookie, dang it. The chocolate morsels, the warm, flaky dough sounds so good dancing in my mouth right now. I swear, it’s my best go-to when I just need a little pick-me-up… Harmless, right? Yet if there’s a pattern there, I have to ask myself how many times I must indulge in order really satisfy that urge that keeps me reaching for something sweet. What, OH WHAT, is beneath that urge that keeps me brushing crumbs off my face?
Perhaps it’s a feeling of lack. Perhaps it’s a painful memory of being judged that is still swimming around somewhere in the depths of my subconscious, not having quite received the proper attention to allow me to heal, so yeah, anytime a current life event that may trigger that memory happens, I’ll go for a lil’ somethin’ sweet to give it that attention: ‘it’s ok, self, have a cookie. That will make it all better.’ But it’s never quite enough.
Maybe it’s the clothing we wear to impress our peers or a career path we’ve followed because it’s what our parents wanted, or ‘the market looked good’. Psychology aside, the real question we should be asking is, “what now?” We tend to get caught spinning circles around deducing and answering the “why’s” of our past to reach deeper within, while the real change happens here and now.
If we simply focus on what we know truly pleases us from within, we give the ego a new job. That job is to hold ground, this sturdy foundation of confidence from within, so we can operate from it on the daily without a sliver of self-doubt.
Rather than letting our ego determine our actions and thoughts by looking for reassurance, we can master the ego by affirming what feels good to us, within and throughout, and what does not, establishing an unbridled sense of self-respect without falter. That way, we may never again agree to something that does not agree with us.
Do what feels good to you rather than what you think or hope pleases or impresses others. Go ahead and sing or whistle out loud in public if the moment grabs you. Wear that vibrantly colored hat or shoes even if others don’t approve that it doesn’t match the rest of your outfit; it’s not for them to decide what makes you feel happy and comfortable. More and more people are waking up to realize this. That’s why in the work place over the years the dress code has gone from stiff-collar to business casual.
Doing what feels good to you unapologetically leads to being your enigmatic, attractive and ‘shining from within’ self, exuding the love that you have for yourself as well as your personal sense of confidence. It becomes encouraging to others. No matter how unorthodox you may appear turning that trip over yourself on the sidewalk into a random shake-it-up dance, having fun and expressing the freedom of being yourself encourages curiosity over judgement.
Smile at someone for no reason at all other than just because it feels good – because you feel good – and watch it become contagious. Watch the videos on YouTube of contagious laughing in the metro. It catches on so quickly because it penetrates the depth of our souls to release joy, shattering the defenses of reservation, hesitation, introversion and self-consciousness. Instead, share your self-awareness and you will inspire others to do the same, disarming the tendency to judge. You will find out quickly who appreciates you for who you really are and who just can’t handle it. And ask yourself, do you really want to associate with those people who don’t appreciate you for being your true self? Why would you?
You’ll joyfully find yourself getting things done by your own power rather than by the will of others against your own – doing what fulfills you within respectable compromise of sharing that space, allowing others to do the same thing.
This self-confidence thing, the power of loving and being ok with ourselves through all our faults, strengths, mistakes, trespasses, forgivings, learning, life lessons and processes, shows us the ultimate validation of being on the right path. That is, being true to ourselves and nurturing the best within us; accepting and forgiving the worst within us, and making a humble agreement to gently learn from our mistakes without punishing ourselves over and over again.
There are many ways to hop, skip and jump into this self-rewarding direction, and you can get there anywhere along the way. There’s no need to start from childhood, an emotionally traumatic life event or an idea about yourself that ‘will never change’. There’s only now; only what you tell yourself and choose to believe for the sake of YOU, because you’re worth it, unconditionally. We all are.
Affirmations are popular for a reason, because they actually WORK! All that’s needed is for you to actually resonate with it. It must be something that you can at least entertain the idea of agreeing with, even if you don’t entirely at the beginning. The more you allow yourself to believe in it, the more you tell it to yourself, the more it becomes your reality.
Truth is, we make affirmations to ourselves all the time, we may just not realize it. It’s how we develop any idea into a belief that in a sense creates our own personal reality. “I love learning about wildlife.” Is it true because you find yourself drawn to it, or are you drawn to it because you’ve been told about how amazing wildlife is so many times at a young age? Chickens and eggs, my friends. Whatever we convince ourselves of will become so for us.
So have some fun and start creating affirmations for yourself. Repeat them to yourself every chance you get. Feel the strength of the words and their meaning as you say them. Put them to practice in your daily life and watch how they take effect. Can you imagine that the phrase ‘be careful what you wish for’ may apply here, hmm?
Say for example you’re nervous about a speech you have to give coming up. “I am an engaging speaker that invites my audience to listen deeply,” is an affirmation you choose to use. Every time before you practice your speech, through your morning and nightly routines, on lunch break or anytime you feel your nerves shoot up as thoughts of your upcoming speech enter your head, you say or affirm this sentence to yourself. It begins to grow on you. By the time you have to give your speech, hey, you actually believe it yourself and you’re no longer thinking about giving the speech, you’re focused on its message and you deliver it to your audience, and wow, what a delivery. People will be talking about it for a long time afterwards.
That’s the power of using affirmations.
Some tips for affirmation creation:
- Use words within your own vocabulary that are familiar to you, that way the phrases will be easier to remember and easier to believe.
- Choose words and verbiage that ‘speaks’ to you – something that pulls a feeling, a sense of excitement or attraction out of you when you say it. This will create a deeper impact in your brain to associating with the message that your affirmation conveys. For example, that phrase, “I am an engaging speaker that invites my audience to listen deeply.”
- Keep your affirmations brief and simple. It will help you to remember them better, to process them more easily, and to focus on the meaning of each word as well as the entire message more intently.
- Speak the affirmation to yourself out loud or in your head as if you were saying them to someone with an altruistic intent, convincing them as you know it to be so; desiring them to truly listen to you. You may even feel the physical resonance of your statement within, a sign that your inner self has come to agree with the transformative belief you’re providing.
The more that you come to believe in and express yourself in every aspect of your life, consider yourself validated for the exceptional being you are and always have been.
Please feel encouraged to write a favorite affirmation of yours in the comments section below. While you’re not only sharing a brilliant part of yourself, you may be helping or inspiring someone else who really benefits from reading it!
With an Ace up my sleeve for manual magicianry, the Love wielded unconditionally makes transitioning effortless alongside multilevel and lingual communication – of which I prefer calm quiet the most, since listening is the key that opens doors to anyone’s personal gain.