Self-esteem really is an issue for many people, myself included in the past, but what are the factors that cause it? Well, exploring my niche for self-esteem for men, I’ve discovered from my own experience, from others whom I know, from research and from what other people whom I don’t know are saying, a few common themes. One of the main ones is external validation.
External validation is dangerous. External validation takes away control of your own life. I do not want this for you, and I don’t want this for me. It’s not saying everyone else is bad but rather it creates the reliance on something out of your control, to be happy. Why not take this control back?
My struggle with external validation
Now before I start, I’m going to be honest: I am no angel by any means. Of course, naturally, I will look at how many books I’ve sold, how many people like my social media posts or who is texting me this week. As someone who is a growing Coach, Author, YouTuber and Podcaster, of course I am going to do this. Yet I’ve learnt that it is better to use this as feedback for what is and isn’t working, rather than relying on it for my enjoyment and satisfaction out of life.
I used to be so reliant on results for dictating my life. My struggle in Amazon book sales when I first started publishing books, my likes on social media as an older teenager, my expectations of receiving text replies from a girl I was dating, all used to take a large amount of control over how I felt. It was ok when things were going well but when they weren’t, I felt awful and worthless.
So instead, over time, I decided that the only approval I needed was self-approval. I know I’m not the only man or person who struggles with external validation though, whether it’s ‘I need to find the romantic partner to like me’, ‘I need more likes’ or indeed any kind of validation at all.
External validation during coronavirus
You would think that the need for this might be reduced, as we are in our own homes. However, as we all know, technology and social media are all around us; after all, we most of us still have our phones and the internet in our homes. In fact, we are probably relying more on social media and technology now, as we can’t go out and physically interact with people as much. Although I would hope that you are not the type of person who spends much time on their phone when with others anyway…
So, here are my top three tips that have helped me to reduce external validation.
Top 3 external validation destroyers
Reduction in social media and/ or texts
Looking at your phone can play a major role in external validation. So stop…Simple!
…..Ok, or maybe not look at it as much. The problem is we become addicted to our phones, and research shows we get dopamine hits when we get likes or texts. Therefore, cut down rather than stop completely, as then we are more likely to maintain this reduction rather than give up completely.
Go for a walk without your phone or music. Just enjoy nature.
I’ve found this so relaxing. Sometimes I am so tuned into music, podcasts or checking my phone that I don’t focus on the present and what is around me. When I started to go for walks and runs without anything, I found it so relaxing. I am focused on being present, rather than thinking about everything and everybody else. Just a 20-30 min walk each day can do you the world of good.
Find something you genuinely enjoy
Not something that will make you look good to others. Something in which you can lose yourself. It may be something creative or it may not be. When I write a book, I fall into that world and forget about everything else around me. I don’t care about what others think or how good it will look. It doesn’t have to be something amazingly productive. It can be anything that you love such as reading a book, learning something new or even watching a film you enjoy.
External validation is something very common for us all. It becomes dangerous when we get too addicted to it though, as it’s something out of our control, dictating our happiness. Instead, bring the focus back to you. There are some simple quick tips to help you to do this: focus on feeling good and on being you.
Jonny Pardoe © April 2020
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