External Validation

by | Mar 25, 2017 | Change, Coaching, Mindset

Have you ever asked yourself if you are putting to much of your time, effort and energy in an attempt to gain external validation from others?

I see a lot of people who are struggling with their lives, one thing that can cause this is an over reliance on external validation, and unfortunately this can mean that a persons own happiness is dependent on other people or on external factors beyond their control.

Validation is defined as ‘recognition or affirmation that a person, their feelings or their opinions are valid or worthwhile’.

People who are ‘externally validated’, need recognition from others, they need repeated affirmation from what is present or from what is happening in their life, this inevitably creates a problem because when this external validation is not there they can feel depressed, lost, and downright miserable.

It’s generally a good thing to make others feel happy, but if your own personal happiness is dependent on how others feel are you just putting your own happiness into the hands of others. 

The result is you spend all of your efforts into trying to please others and not yourself.

When this goes too far a person’s own identity can be effected, how they see themselves, their confidence, their feelings and their whole self esteem can be fully dependent on what others think, feel or say.

People also get external validation from material things too, their job title, what they have in the bank, and their material possessions, and for some even the car they have on the drive, here their internal happiness tends to be dependent on the short term good feelings they get from acquiring some external thing or something that gives them status, they have a habit of thinking;

my life would be better if,

with the belief that the title, status or that inert material object they desire could somehow impart magical happiness into their life.

Material validation tends to be short lived, even lottery winners go back to their ‘pre-lottery win’ happiness level, so consider this; if your happiness is dependent on something external or materialistic you might be spending most of your life feeling disappointed, because if you are always looking for the next thing that you think may make you feel better you should stop and think because even when you have everything your happiness may still be short lived.  


The externally validated are reliant on someone or something external to affect how they feel inside, and they are effectively putting their happiness into the hands of someone or something they have no control over. So ask yourself are you externally validated, are your feelings dependent on others, or would your life really be better if?

Bibliography and References

Dunn, Elizabeth W., Michael I. Norton, and Lara B. Aknin. “From Wealth To Well-Being? Money Matters, But Less Than People Think”. The Journal of Positive Psychology 4.6 (2009): 523-527. Web.


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