We all have our insecurities about different aspects of ourselves. I think those of us whose confidence about our beliefs and decisions in life permeates every fiber of our being are few and far between. Being human we are vulnerable to a host of emotions. What other people think about us, the decisions we have made or are thinking about making and how we live our life should not matter, but sometimes it does. Even the most confident of us like to hear others agree or encourage us on our path. It feels nice and there is nothing wrong with admitting that.
This is especially true when it comes to relationships, the partners we choose, and the decisions we make as we experience love’s ups and downs. We look to outside influences to validate our choices and sometimes stay in relationships longer than we should simply because everyone around us thinks this is “the one”. Not only can the search for external validation steer you in the wrong direction, it’s exhausting.
Ultimately, we cannot look to others for validation. If we leave ourselves vulnerable to the opinions and thoughts of others, we will be in for a very uncomfortable roller coaster of feeling good one moment when someone praises us and feeling badly the next when someone criticizes us. We all have our own way of looking at our relationships that have been influenced by myriad forces, such as our religion, the beliefs instilled in us by our parents, and the circumstances of our life. Everything we observe goes through these filters and out the other end comes an opinion.This is a very subjective process and most people are operating with a crappy filter lined with limiting beliefs, pessimism, close-minded rigidness, low expectations for what is possible in life and very fixed ideas of what is ”right” and ”appropriate.” While it is nice to receive unanimous support for the choices we make in love and life, it often does not work out that way and there will likely be people in your life who will disagree with you, judge you and criticize you and the more unconventional your choices, the greater the intensity of these less-than-pleasant experiences.
There are no ”right” or ”wrong” ways to live and to love, just preferences. Some people will jibe with your preferences and others will not, but you need to do what is right for you. People’s judgments, criticisms and what not have absolutely nothing to do with you and they are fueled by their own issues such as unhappiness with their own choices, jealousy or just a simple desire to squash other people’s joy. If you know what you are doing is right for you, then that is all that matters.
All the noise coming from other people means absolutely nothing. If you put too much stock in getting the approval of others, you will end up living someone else’s life and chances are, you are not going to like it very much. Constantly striving for validation from others (always asking their opinions about your relationship, refusing to send a text to the new guy until 12 friends have weighed in, deciding to break up because so-and-so told you to, and so on) can confuse you, and you’ll lose sight of the only person’s opinion that really matters – yours. Once you can let this go and make your own choices and decisions, you’ll likely find a more appropriate match if you’re single, or communicate better with your partner if you’re in a relationship. Not to mention, someone who is always looking for validation can come across as an insecure person who is trying too hard, which isn’t the most attractive image you want to project to potential partners!
No doubt it can be uncomfortable dealing with all of this, but if you can truly begin to realize and internalize the idea that how other people respond to you has nothing to do with you, you will experience a type of freedom that few people do, a type of freedom that lends itself to creating the exact life you want for yourself.