You are taking on a new challenge and working day and night to achieve this goal. You’re putting off usual parts of your routine, getting less sleep, maybe ordering more take-out than usual to ensure you reach the finish line. Suddenly, you hit a roadblock and you’re flooded with self-doubt. The potential of failure creeps into your thoughts, tainting the day dream you once had of yourself accomplishing this goal. You confide in someone you trust, hoping they have the right words to say to pull you out of the dark. What do they say?
Take a minute here to think of who this person is and what they would say…
How often do we imagine what the person will say before the question is even asked? How often do we reach out to someone “knowing” they will say the “right” thing? And when they don’t, then what? Disappointment? Anger? Frustration with the person for not reading your thoughts and saying what you wanted to hear?
I believe this happens more often than we think and it’s a bit ironic. We are stuck in our own heads so we go to someone else for an outside perspective; yet, we hope they say something we like that aligns with what we believe. If you’re guilty of this, you are not alone. If I’m writing a blog about it, I think it is safe to assume I’ve done this on a few—*cough* several—occasions. So how do we begin to think differently? How do we open ourselves to other perspectives? Most importantly, how do we begin to validate ourselves?
First of all, we have to understand that everything someone else does or says is through a lens of their own experiences and thoughts. They are reacting based on what they know, not what we expect. Just because they don’t say what we want them to say doesn’t mean their words don’t have value—and if they do say something hurtful or unsupportive, that’s a reflection of their experiences, not your worth. So take each piece of advice with a grain of salt. Keep an open mind and add it to your inventory of knowledge, but also remember it is you who makes decisions for yourself at the end of the day. You choose how to feel and act for yourself.
You see, you may be hurting right now and you may not feel like you’re getting the support you need. I hear you; I’ve been there. But your ache for validation from others shows that you believe in the words they may say—the words you want to hear from them are within you. Let's put this into play: you are struggling to adjust to your new position at work and keep making mistakes. You’re feeling low and frustrated. You call your best friend knowing they will tell you: “You got this! If anyone can do it, it’s you. Don’t give up!” Now, if you’re hoping to hear those words from your best friend, doesn’t that mean they already exist within you? That you want to hear them so you know your thoughts about yourself are true? But why does someone else have to tell you those words are true? What can’t you tell yourself? Why can’t you validate yourself? Plot twist: you can.
Mind = Blown.
Now, this is not as simple as it sounds and of all people, I understand that. I’ve been working on this skill daily and I still have so much further to grow, but this skill is essential in a successful person’s life. It allows us to let go and move forward, to build confidence and resilience, and to love ourselves and others on a deeper level. It gives us the power to take back control over our lives. This life is short and you being here, where you are, is a gift. You are a gift to this world. Don’t waste another second of your time thinking you're anything less. As humans, we are destined to make mistakes, fall, and fail; but it is the toughest dirt that bears the brightest diamonds. So stop waiting on other people to say the words you want to hear, to tell you that you are enough. Take back your power and tell yourself the words you want to hear.