Why We Look For Validation in Others (& How to Stop)

I have caught myself tapping the screen of my phone more than once, expecting a notification from someone. Do you do this too? Are you looking for validation? Click through to see why and how to STOP looking for validation in other people.

I have caught myself tapping the screen of my phone more than once.

Looking for that text. That Snapchat notification. The DM. The little blip on the screen from another human signifying their acknowledgement that I said something witty or worth a response.

I realized what this was the other night when I was watching a YouTube video. The speaker was talking about how people will sometimes get into the habit of constantly expecting a reply from someone they care about and that this is a way of looking for validation. It shows a lack of trust in the other party and it shows the insecurity of the person expecting the reply.

I found this groundbreaking.

This phase in my life clicked into place all at once and I had to stand up to comprehend it all.

I was looking for validation of my worth in other people.

But... why?

This is something I didn't realize I was doing, and have been doing for a very long time. Even though I've become more self-aware and I have come so far from where I was in the past, I find it amazing that I am constantly learning new things like this about myself. Life is a long journey of self-discovery, friend. But why would I look for validation after so much progress forward?

Just like anyone, I long to belong. I long for someone to pat my head, place a gold star on my cheek, and give me two thumbs up.

And I'm not the only one. There are so many people out there looking for validation. You can see it in the way they word a caption on Instagram or how they share a story with you in a conversation. We strive to be told we are right, we are on to something, and that we are on the right track. But it's a draining experience to always look outside ourselves for approval. It can improve your mood--but most of the time it will actually make you feel worse.

Now that I've acknowledged this about myself... how do I stop?

1. Find the source of your issue.

For a long time, I searched for validation in my best friend, connecting how quickly she replied with how much I was worth. Soon it wasn't speed or consistency I connected with my worth, but the quality of conversation and the length of the text. It was our streak on Snapchat and how good she could make me feel.

You can imagine how heartbreaking it was when we could no longer talk. I felt empty. Like I was nothing to the world, because I was nothing to myself.

Looking for validation from others is your one-way ticket to a toxic friendship, my friend.
So what is feeding your need for validation? Is it an app? A specific person in your life? An aspect of social media? I encourage you to take the time to find it. Take an in depth look into your habits. Monitor what you do and how you feel after doing it.

Once the source is found, grasp onto it tight, because in a moment, you're going to let it go.

2. Do something meaningful.

When we realize we're dependent on someone/thing for validation, the first thing we try to do is distract ourselves from it. I have tons of strategies for this, such as turning the phone off, leaving it in my room, or turning off the WiFi so I can't get notifications from certain apps. The list goes on.

Most often it doesn't work and I'm left longing. Anticipating the moment in which I will break and check the screen. Building hype in my mind around what it will feel like it The Notification is there -- or isn't.

The guy in the video I mentioned said that if you want to stop seeking validation or waiting for that text then you need to go out there and do something meaningful. This can be for yourself--honing a skill, working on a hobby--or for other people. Joyce Meyers says that the best way to get out of a funk is to do something nice for someone else. You're not simply distracting yourself but making progress in an area of your life.

You're moving forward in an area of life that matters to you.

I see it like this: you can wait all you want for that text that may never come. Or you could do something for yourself, get out of your head, and then come back later, refreshed to rejoin the conversation.

Or you can block the problem ;) Which is the next step.

3. When all else fails, get rid of it.

I have taken numerous social media breaks, and sometimes that's enough. Deleting the apps for a week to a month and then coming back with a fresh mindset may be all that it takes.

But what if it isn't?

What if you can't handle it and the cycle keeps feeding itself so that you just keep feeling worse and worse?

It's a simple process.

If it's a person, block them. I used to be afraid to do this because, "What if they finally reach out and say what I've been waiting all this time to hear?" Well, friend, if it's THAT important to them, they will find another way to contact you. They will make sure their message gets across to you, trust me.

But do you honestly think that's what they're going to do?

If this is not a purely Internet based relationship, and you will see this person in the future, I recommend not making the first move. Focus on the task at hand, and if they talk to you, meet their eyes. Don't bring up the issue, just enjoy the moment. Don't let the disappointment you feel ruin your mindset.

If it's an app, delete your account. I am serious. A few years ago I deleted my Instagram account and recently I deleted my Snapchat. Doing this released me from a weight I didn't know was pressing down on me. It gave me the brain space to figure out why there were so many negative experiences associated with the apps and what I had to accept about myself.

Do you find yourself seeking validation? If so, in what ways? From who or what?

“An amazing thing happens when you stop seeking approval and validation: You find it. People are naturally drawn like magnets to those who know who they are and cannot be shaken!”- MANDY HALE, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass


  1. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you, Rosie!

    1. Thank YOU Nicole! I'm happy you enjoyed this post :)

  2. Umm wow. Loved this!! I definitely look for validation in things like instagram haha.

    Nabila | Hot Town Cool Girl


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