What is self-love and how it can prevent you from seeking validation from others
Updated: Apr 5, 2022
Before we get into what self-love is I believe it is important for you, the reader, to be able to understand a bit more about love and how we receive it.
Love is something we need in abundance and equally, there is a whole heap of external sources which we can receive it from. However, this article is going to explain why the most important source of love should come from yourself (within).
We know this as we’ve all seen someone or been the victim of ‘not enough love’ at some point in our lives. It impacts our self-esteem, our attitude and our outlook on life.
Lack of love, whatever that may look like for an individual, can lead to a whole heap of issues; mental, emotional and physical. One can argue, that a lack of love is potentially what leads to many of an individual’s insecurities, obstacles and issues in life.
Surely, there must be a way to bypass this? How can we find a way around this need to receive love from others? Is it possible to love yourself just enough, that you no longer seek validation from others?
Introducing Self Love…
This can be done in a range of ways however rather than thinking of self-love as a to-do list, why not think of self-love as an art?
Why? – Simple, that way you focus on programming this habit into your mind.
It will help you in the long run, as you will be able to get into the habit of practising self-love when you are in a spiral of negativity.
Additionally, you will have developed self-love tried and tested toolkit that is tailored to yourself.
This means that life can throw you a range of circumstances and you will be able to use the power of love to overcome them.
However, this is much easier said than done. It is something that takes hours of practice to master. This clinic is here to focus on techniques and obstacles that get in the way of becoming a master of self-love.
Self Love Definition
Self-love is the act of appreciation for oneself focusing on promoting feelings of support, forgiveness and compassion.
What does this mean?
The first part of the sentence talks about appreciating yourself.
This can be interpreted in a range of ways.
Appreciation can be seen as taking notice of effort with positive dialogue, regardless of the result. It can also be seen, through the practice of gratitude.
The second part of the sentence tells us what feelings to focus on when we are trying to appreciate ourselves.
Compassion focuses on kindness, forgiveness focuses on accepting our mistakes and letting go whilst support focuses on encouragement for next time.
What is inner dialogue?
Inner dialogue is often referred to as the “voice in your head”.
It is typically known for giving a running commentary on what you are doing, and how you are doing it and will add judgment if you are not living up to an internal standard.
Now the tone in which this inner dialogue takes place can reveal how you are generally feeling. For example; if you are consistently talking down about yourself, it can lead you to feel anxious and depressed.
Some people can control how they then speak to others but it is likely you also then speak in the same manner to others. This is done by projecting your internal monologue, often done without realising.
The opposite would be if you constantly encouraged and supported yourself, this would lead you to be fairly upbeat and would reflect in how you spoke to others.
Example: Self-Love & inner dialogue in action:
“Nikita is working on a school play. She has spent the last month, preparing her class to perform. When the performance finally takes place, it does not go to plan. The children forget their lines, and the audience is not giving the reaction Nikita had hoped for”
In this example Nikita is going to feel disappointed therefore the conversation in her head can go one of two ways:
“I’m so annoyed, why didn’t I just schedule more rehearsals!! I’m a laughing stock, and it’s all my fault. I can’t believe those kids, they didn’t even try to practice their lines. I cannot wait until we finish school – they will all be staying behind! I’ll make them rewrite their lines until they are fluent with it.”
“Bless them, I can’t believe how much they have all improved! We spent the last month trying our hearts out, and I surprised myself with the amount of dedication and commitment I put into this! I am grateful to have been given this opportunity. I can see that it could’ve gone better, but I can forgive myself and the class as I know we tried our best! Perhaps I can be more encouraging in the future.”
In the first response, Nikita has taken the time to blame herself for the mistakes in the performance. This has led her to worry about what the other teachers think of her thus impacting her self esteem. She then shifts blame to the class which leads her mind to think of ideas to punish the kids, ultimately taking out her frustration on others.
In the second response, Nikita has appreciated her and her classes’ efforts, this has been further supplemented with feelings around support, forgiveness and compassion. Thus she is more likely to learn from any mistakes, and be more likely to use self-love towards herself in the future. She also takes time to forgive herself for any residual feeling of disappointment that might naturally be there and also think of a positive way to improve for next time.
The example above shows the difference between someone who is practising self-love and someone who is not.
It’s clear to see the impact that a shift in inner dialogue can have on yourself.
When we focus on appreciation of ourselves, we can see how far we have come rather than how far we have fallen.
The difference between these two outlooks is massive.
On one hand, you are looking for love, in the form of validation, from others.
Whilst, the other side brings a level of contentment and peace.
With all the validation coming from within. The benefits of this are huge (see below), and ultimately lead you to live a happier life.
Here are a few of the benefits of validation coming from within:
You can have conversations with others, without expecting praise and a job well done.
You are open to criticism, as you have most likely taken accountability and are aware of your limitations.
You can work through negative spirals a bit easier, with more of a self encouraging inner dialogue.
You can build true relationships, where people can be honest with you à Rather than relationships where people tell you what you want to hear.
You do not feel you have to prove yourself to others. This is because you are no longer seeking others' approval, and therefore you live up to your mark!
Self-love is a key component of ones’ happiness.
Well without it, it can lead an individual to chase love in the form of validation from external sources.
This becomes an issue when an individual becomes so lost in chasing validation from others, that he forgets how to validate himself.
The individual’s inner dialogue can become toxic and create a cycle of self belittling, which can eventually be extended to those around them.
The validation one provides himself, can be achieved through self-love.
Self-love means appreciating oneself whilst using supportive, forgiving and compassionate behaviours, thoughts and inner dialogue towards oneself.
This is an art and therefore takes practice to achieve mastery. Therefore, if you’re feeling frustrated you haven’t become a self-love expert overnight – remind yourself to be patient.
Do you feel you are constantly seeking validation from others?
Are you feeling like you are lacking self-love in your life at the moment?
Do you sometimes feel your inner dialogue can be so infuriating, that you need time away from your mind?
Take time to notice if you are, and try to seek support from self-help books, counsellors, coaches and your support network to aid you with improving self-love.
Click here to find out more about Self Love Clinic’s coaching and counselling sessions, for more ways you can be supported on a journey of self-love!