When You Stop Seeking Validation, Success Will Find You

By Jennifer Fowler

Do you ever feel like once you achieve that one exasperating goal looming over your head, you’ll finally feel content with your life? Once you make the change - lose those five pounds, make the dean’s list, get an internship abroad, find a significant other that adores you - all the woes of your life will lose focus, right?

People will come in droves to shower praise on you as if it was confetti. You’ll announce that you’ve accomplished X,Y and Z on your respective social media platforms, and your likes, retweets will skyrocket into celebrity territory. People will leave a trail of fitting emojis that include heart eyes, clapping hands of approval and rainbow colored hearts.

You’ll feel untouchable.

Like you’ve finally done something worthy of respect/admiration/praise. You’ve finally achieved success. Until the glimmering facade of worthiness eventually fades, much like a fresh hair coloring. You’ve allowed your head and heart to swell with the kind words of those lauding your moment of success, and when the roars have died down to whispers, you’ve lost a sense of how you ended up here in the first place.

If no one’s cheering me on, what does it matter anyway? So, you’ve found yourself in a cycle of making hasty life decisions, in order to feed this appetite that yearns for the approval and assent of others. I don’t think I can draw up something that emphasizes how dangerous this mindset is.

A mindset of picking and prodding at yourself until you’ve become something you think others will approve of. And when they don’t, doing it all over again. Comparing yourself to your peers and colleagues, finding faults in yourself where they seem to have none. Always wanting totouch perfection, but it being painfully out of reach.

It’s important to realize that always seeking validation will always leave you hungry. Your co-workers, cousins, whomever might constantly post about their journeys to success and how much fun they’re having along the way. They might make it seem like it’s easy. Like working in the White House two summers ago was “just a resume-builder”, or that working three jobs while doing missionary work is “no big deal.”

And that’s them.

Don’t compare your path to theirs, because everyone’s is supposed to be different. And just because they don't show the road bumps along the way doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

You are worthy.

Whether or not you feel that way right this moment, or your social media interactions reflect your “worth” doesn’t matter. You are worthy even if you don’t get the fellowship, make the dean’s list three semesters in arow, or cerebrate two years with someone who loves you through a Flipagram.

You are capable, strong, and beautiful. It’s important that you make a mantra of that to remind yourself. Realizing that you don’t need others to validate you is the first step to building a core foundation of self love and self empowerment. And if you feel like no one’s cheering you on, take a moment to scribble down all the ways you’re proud of yourself and commit to being your own cheerleader.