8 psychological habits of people who don’t seek validation from others

Have you ever found yourself showing off because you like the attention?

If you’re anything like most of us, you probably have.

It feels good to be liked, admired and appreciated.

We can’t help but look to others sometimes to get a little dose of validation. Part of it goes with the territory of living together in communities.

There’s nothing wrong with this in small amounts. But the vast majority of our approval should always come from within.

That means that if you’re relying solely on external praise to confirm your worth, decisions, and actions — you’re setting yourself up for trouble.

Let’s take a look at the psychological habits of people who don’t fall into this trap.

1) They build their self-esteem to grow their confidence

Here’s the truth:

We all need validation, but that can come from various sources.

People who desperately cling to others for it are lacking it within themselves.

The more self-confidence you have, the more you believe in yourself and trust yourself. So you are far less swayed by the opinions of others.

When you feel self-assured, all of a sudden, you don’t care what that stranger in the street thinks about what you’re wearing. It only matters that you like it.

The same goes for the far bigger things in life too — your choices and the path you decide to take.

You feel more capable of steering your own ship and don’t look to others for all of your guidance.

But here is where people sometimes get it wrong:

Self-confidence is not just a feeling we either have or don’t have. If you’re lacking in it right now, you can take practical steps to change this.

You can cultivate more confidence and turn it into a habit by:

  • Acknowledging your achievements and abilities
  • Practicing gratitude so that you learn to pay attention to everything you already have going for you
  • Improving your self-talk
  • Focusing on your own personal growth rather than comparing yourself to others
  • Trusting your own judgment and decision-making skills rather than automatically turning to other people for advice

2) They don’t pretend to be something they’re not and strive to show up authentically

The extent to which you can manage this can depend on your confidence levels. But you can also strive for self-acceptance.

That means embracing the fact that you’re not perfect (because nobody is), but who you are is enough.

There is a humble vulnerability that we reach from this realization. This can give you the courage to be the real you.

When we are so wrapped up in what others think of us, it’s all too easy to present a version of ourselves that we think people want to see.

If we want to honor ourselves, we have to stay true to ourselves.

That means:

  • Knowing your values and beliefs and sticking to them (even when others don’t agree)
  • Refusing to compromise your integrity or change who you are just to please other people
  • Trying to surround yourself with those who can accept you and appreciate you for who you are (which means letting go of toxic relationships in favor of those who respect and support you)

3) They believe that they have total control over themselves

How much do you believe deep down that the way your life goes is up to you?

Yes, there will always be certain elements that are out of our control. But self-responsibility is about focusing on the things you do have a say over.  

The fancy psychological word for this is having an internal locus of control.

In a nutshell, it’s about choosing empowerment over victimhood.

The concept of Locus of Control of Reinforcement was developed in the 1960s by an American psychologist.

It says that people have one of two worldviews.

They either believe that they don’t have control over their actions and what happens to them or they think they have full agency over them. 

It’s easy to see how the more out of control you feel in life, the more likely you are to try to grasp onto external things to try to feel steadier.

When you have total accountability, there is less reason to look elsewhere.

You can bolster your internal locus of control by:

  • Acknowledging where (and how) you have power of influence over outcomes and circumstances in your life
  • Dropping your excuses and not trying to blame external factors whenever things don’t work out. Instead, take responsibility for your actions and choices.
  • Create mantras that reinforce this belief by telling yourself “I have the power to shape my own life”

4) They make time to reflect on themselves and their life to create better self-awareness

Self-awareness is like a silver bullet for so many of our psychological bad habits.

Until we can reflect on what motivates us and makes us tick, we may not even notice the problem, let alone be able to get to work to correct it.

They say ignorance is bliss. Maybe they are right to a certain extent. Burying your head in the sand can feel like an easier option sometimes.

But not in the long run.

Because people who don’t possess any self-awareness only get stuck in cycles where they create suffering for themselves.

Engaging in regular self-reflection allows us to develop that all-important strong sense of self-awareness.

That means making time to:

  • Analyze your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as objectively as you can to try to gain insights
  • Actively looking for both your strengths and weaknesses, so that you can identify areas of potential personal growth
  • Using tools like journaling as a way of better understanding yourself and things that happen in life

5) They strive to be more emotionally independent

Needy people lack emotional independence.

Most of the external validation that we seek ultimately comes down to getting an emotional pick-me-up.

Rather than being driven by practical gains, it’s our feelings that we are looking to strengthen.

We hear a lot about the importance of independence, but that extends way beyond paying your own bills or being able to tackle odd jobs around the house.

Emotional independence means that we seek to find fulfillment from within instead of looking for it in other people.

Let’s be honest:

This is understandably very hard to do.

How many of us secretly hope that falling in love is going to be the start of our happily ever after?

That’s because we are often culturally taught to look for our happiness in someone else.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to diminish the role of loving relationships in our lives.

But that’s not an excuse to make others responsible for our emotional well-being.  

It’s important to:

  • Practice self-care
  • Build self-love and self-compassion
  • Understand that your happiness is not dependent on external factors or other people’s opinions (your feelings are ultimately down to you)

6) They set healthy boundaries to protect themselves

It’s totally normal to care what people think of you. In fact, if you don’t get a damn at all it seems almost narcissistic.

The trick is not to care too much and be mindful of who you look to for their opinions and guidance.

Healthy boundaries are what help to protect us from the negative influence of others. Establishing these guards our emotional well-being.

That way, we’re not left devastated by everything people around us say and do.

People should earn the right to their say in your life. Others forfeit that right through their behavior.

Particularly if you notice people-pleasing habits creep in, it’s important to double down on your boundaries.

That can mean:

  • Learning how to say no and prioritize your own needs
  • Defining what is acceptable and unacceptable to you
  • Not overloading yourself with other people’s to-dos (aka stop running around after people to try to seek favor!)

7) They don’t shy away from life’s struggles so that they can build their resilience

Nobody welcomes the shit times in life. But sadly, they’re inevitable.

Not only that, they can be useful if we allow them to be. Your mental attitude and approach to the bad times dictate whether you sink or swim.

But what has all of this got to do with seeking external validation?

Resilience is a key aspect of mental toughness, and mentally tough people are more self-sufficient.

They are able to:

  • Develop tenacity by bouncing back from challenges and failures
  • Cultivate a growth mindset where they view setbacks as opportunities for growth rather than see it as a reflection of their worth
  • Use other people’s feedback as a practical tool to grow rather than an emotional source of either bolstering praise or demoralizing criticism
  • Learn from past experiences and use them as stepping stones for personal development

8) They look for their motivation from within


By learning what is most important to them.

It’s easy to get lost chasing someone else’s version of a good life rather than your own, especially when you’re seeking validation from society.  

That’s why one of the biggest regrets of people on their deathbed is “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Finding purpose and meaning in your actions is important if you’re to achieve this.

So we don’t get lost looking to other people, we must set our own goals based on our unique personal values, interests, and passions.

We also have to find joy and satisfaction in the process itself, rather than relying on external recognition for a “job well done”.

Tools that can help us with this include:

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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