Switching from External to Internal Validation  

Young man in the parkExternal validation depends on a positive feedback loop from outsiders in response to your actions or expressions. If, at any point, your expressions, actions, and/or outside responses change course, your feelings of self-worth may plummet. Relying on outside forces for validation can put even the most well-adjusted individuals on a crash course towards self-sabotage. If maintaining your well-being is already a balancing act due to mental health symptoms caused by Asperger’s, bipolar, BPD, ADD, ADHD, or OCD, you will likely benefit from switching your mental model from seeking external validation to embracing internal validation. Use the four following tactics to utilize internal validation for a healthier mind and spirit.

  1. Mindfulness: Internal validation discards approval from others in exchange for total self-endorsement. To establish internal positive feedback, you must actually become mindful of how you act, think, and feel every minute of the day. Internal validation relies on your ability to recognize and accept the way daily events make you feel. Once you address your internal feelings, you can then make a conscious decision about the best way to handle the situation without emotions clouding your thoughts.
  1. Affirmations: Practicing mindfulness allows you to correct negative thoughts and replace them with recognition of your positive traits or actions. As you tap into your internal dialogue, you may notice the same set of negative thought patterns amplifying your emotions. Establish positive mantras you can use to replace harmful thoughts that tend to derail you from feeling well or making progress toward your goals. Internal validation through positive mantras allows you to reinforce your best qualities while downplaying the perceived negatives.
  1. Normalizing: With mental health effects dominating your thought patterns, you might start to feel like your way of perceiving the world is flawed or abnormal. You must embrace the emotions you feel as a natural response to internally validate your perceptions. Recognize that even people who appear happy all of the time feel the full range of negative emotions, especially in response to difficult situations. Accept the emotions as they arise and recognize them as normal to internally validate the way you feel.
  1. Goal Making: Meeting your goals can go a long way in providing internal validation through pride and self-satisfaction. To make the most out of these feelings, make small goals and celebrate your successes as you meet each one. Resist the urge to turn toward shame and other negative responses when your efforts fall just short of the goal. Instead, celebrate the time and effort you put into making progress toward the goal. Brush yourself off, break the goal into smaller steps, and try again to meet your goals and validate your success internally.

Finding Balance

As internal validation tactics become a way of life, you may feel your motivation, self-confidence, and happiness increase. You can use internal validation to fight against negative thoughts, feelings, and actions caused by mental health symptoms. The efforts you put into establishing an internal positive feedback loop will help you excel through adulthood without relying on others for validation.