External Validation

//External Validation

External Validation

External validation is something that many human beings struggle with. As somebody who lives with panic and anxiety, I often want reassurance from other people when it isn’t necessarily the most healthy thing for me. It’s hard to be able to reassure yourself and show yourself that things are going to be OK when you don’t actually feel that inside. Maybe you’re afraid or you can’t see a way out of what’s happening to you. Believe me, I have been there and it’s not a fun land to visit. It’s filled with rocks that you accidentally trip over, strangers who aren’t kind to you, and signs that lead you in the wrong direction even though it says it’s the right one. Seeking constant reassurance from others can develop into an unhealthy addictive pattern. When you find that you continually ask friends and family to show you that it’s going to be all right that isn’t allowing you the chance to find out that it will work out. Whether you do that by asking people in person or on social media, these are both methods of reassurance seeking.

And here’s the thing: you don’t always have to know how it’s going to be all right, things have a funny way of working themselves out. Another brutal truth that may be hard to swallow is that it might not be okay, but that doesn’t mean that YOU won’t be okay. Whatever happens, you will always have yourself and you can get through hard situations. Remember that you are strong and even though you might not be able to see that at the moment, it’s the truth. The idea behind coping mechanisms and self-soothing is to stay away from this reassurance-seeking behavior.

However, reassurance seeking, I hate to break it to you, but it is legitimately addictive. It can make you feel weak in the end. I reality you are strong and when you can’t see that you have the tools to handle the unknown, it feeds into an unhealthy pattern. To break that addiction it’s important to learn the proper coping mechanisms to help yourself feel better rather than relying on other people to make you feel better. Because in reality that’s a temporary fix and other people don’t have the power to make you feel whole. You have the power to heal and living with a mental illness is challenging as it is. You don’t need someone else to fix you or reassure you that things work out in the end. Sometimes we don’t know if they’ll work out in the end and that’s OK. That’s the nature of life and we do not have to know. So if you’re looking to reassure yourself by asking another person, it’s not worth it.

Search yourself for the ability to cope and change. Even if it seems like it is in there you will find it by working with your therapist. I believe in you. I believe in me and I believe that we can do this.

By | 2018-03-15T01:10:52+00:00 March 15th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.

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