#52: External Validation

What comes to mind when you hear the word “validation?”

This word generally brings up with a lot of negative feelings.

As a society we look for validation through things like a follower count and likes. And that’s not good.

But there are forms of external validation that are okay and can even be important to recovery. For example, asking your friend for their opinion on a situation because you don’t know if you can fully trust yourself to have an accurate response yet.

That’s something that I need.

As much as I can call out gaslighting, as much as I can call out a narcissist, as much as I can call out all of these things. Sometimes it still gets in my brain that maybe I am over exaggerating. Maybe I’m just hyper aware of things and I’m making too big of a deal.

So having someone on hand to keep me in check and say “no, your brains working just fine. This really is not okay.” That has helped me immensely.

That kind of validation is okay, as long as you use it as a tool to grow and learn to trust your brain.

However, what I’m going to be discussing today is the negative external validation seeking.

Seeking validation from men is something I had always done. While I don’t do it as much anymore, it is a constant battle in my brain. Even though I dress for me, even though I no longer really even want to be in a relationship, I still get in this hole.

“If I don’t attract a man, I’m not worth anything” is a spiral my brain gets stuck in.

After my ex and I split a few years ago, I immediately jumped on dating sites. Did I actually want to date anyone? Not really.

What I did want is someone to tell me that I was beautiful, to show me that I was worth their time. I wanted to be a reason someone got dressed up and wanted to go out to dinner.

Over the years, I’ve joined and deleted the same four dating sites more times that I can even count. I hate that I did that. I hate that my brain still wants to do that. It wasn’t until recently that I figured out why I was doing this at all.

At the time, I thought I was lonely with no sense of self control. I didn’t want to admit to myself is that my self worth was tied in my physical appearance.

It’s been a few months since I got real with myself and deleted all the apps with no intention of looking back. And honestly, it’s been so freeing.

This is the first time since I was 10 or 11 that I haven’t had a dude in my life I’m trying to impress.

I’m just working on me.

I sat down the other day and tried to figure out what it was that caused everything to click, what was it that really hit home for me that made it happen. I looked back on the last year and a half of my journey and I begin to piece everything together.

I’m really proud of my own personal growth. I’m proud that I’m able to look back in one I can call myself out on this. Just a few years ago, I wasn’t even self aware enough to realize this is what was going on.

I want you to look at your own life and say, “If that hot mess can do it, then oh my gosh, so can I.”

So what did I do? How did I break this cycle?

One thing to remember: just because your brain has a thought doesn’t mean you need to act on it.

Do I want to join dating apps and get external validation and be told by men that I am attractive? Yes. Am I going to do it? No.

Why? It’s not fair to use someone only for validation. Also because I know what I want and right now a relationship does not fit in that. So it’s not even something I want to entertain.

All of these reasons in my brain stop me from acting on the thoughts and feelings that my brain has, particularly when it’s lonely.

How did I get here in the first place?

I learned that I was capable of telling myself that I was beautiful, that I was sexy. I realized I can do my makeup for my damn self. I didn’t have to dress up for someone else. I didn’t have to wait for some big occasion. I did it for me.

I tell myself, “I want to feel beautiful today. So what can I do to make that happen?”

Just to be clear:

Am I beautiful without makeup? Yes.
Does that mean I am not allowed to wear makeup? No.

I personally feel just as sexy going out with no makeup on in a messy bun as I do when I’m all made up. Why? Because I’m allowed to do what I want when I want for myself.

I got here in part because of the affirmations I say to myself.

Here are the four main ones I say all of the time:

I am strong.
I am capable.
I am intelligent.
I am worthy.

My son and I say those every morning before we start today and every night before bed.

But there were some other affirmations I added in as well.

I am beautiful and I am allowed to feel beautiful.
I am sexy and I am allowed to feel sexy.
I am attractive and I’m allowed to feel attractive.

We are taught by society that we are allowed to lift up other women. But talking about ourselves in that manner? That’s just being full of yourself.

I’m calling BS on that.

Lift yourself up, shout yourself out. Look at yourself in the mirror and say “I am beautiful. My butt looks so good today. My thighs look great in these leggings.”

I’m going to look in the mirror and I’m going to appreciate my curves, rolls and all, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Just because I’m allowed to.

Add that self talk into your day.

Step two: thank your body.

I began to look at myself in the mirror, buck naked, when I got in the shower. I would see myself and say, “you know what, I don’t like my stomach. I don’t like the way it hangs. I’ve lost a lot of weight so there’s sagging skin. And I had a baby so it really hangs over. And guess what?

That loose skin is a sign of me taking my life back. That loose skin is a sign of my body creating life. If it wasn’t for my stomach that I can’t stand, my son wouldn’t be here.

I don’t like the way my thighs jiggle. I don’t like how the fat hangs. But those thighs gave me the ability to pick up my son when he was little. Those thighs gave me the ability to pile on the weight and squat heavy at the gym. Those thighs give me the ability to go on walks and run and play and move my body.

So thank you to my stomach and thank you to my thighs.

Thank your body.

Thank your arms for being able to pick up and put groceries away. Thank your legs for being able to go on a walk. Thank your butt for the muscles it has. It allows you to move and looks good in leggings and in a tight dress. Thank your butt today,

Stop thinking of your body in a “I like this and I don’t like that” kind of way. Instead, start thinking in gratitude of it.

I’m so grateful that I have a body. I’m so grateful that I’m here. And I am so happy that my body is sustaining life.

Step three is one of my favorites:

dress for you.

A lot of us dress the way we think other people want us to dress. From what I’ve seen growing up big women dress the way they think society wants them to dress.

So we dress in big baggy clothes, trying to hide our rolls. We pinch in our waist. We don’t wear shorts and we don’t want anything too tight because God forbid the world sees our back rolls.

Maybe you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum. Maybe you’re really thin and you’re self conscious about how small you are. So you don’t wear the shorts because you don’t like your legs. Maybe you don’t wear the tight tops because you don’t want to emphasize how small your chest is.

Because you think society wants you to dress that way.

Well guess what?

You’re allowed to dress however you want to dress.

Lately I’ve really embraced the more alternative side of myself. And yes, I have blue hair. But I was like, I don’t want to dress too dark. I don’t want to wear my nerd shirts all the time because what if they think I’m weird. I need to be more girly.

Pshh. Not anymore.

I am the person who will put on a full face with lashes that look fantastic. I’ll put my hat on and my hair looks great. Then I throw on sweatpants and a T shirt. Why?

Because I look in the mirror and I think I look good.

Do I get looks? Yes. Do I get scowls? Yes. Do I get eye rolls? Yes.

But I also get compliments. I get those people coming up to me saying “you know what? I see you and you’re always dressed so cute. I love it. You gave me the confidence to wear overalls again.” or “And just so you know, I’m getting my hair done on Friday, because I’ve always wanted to have my hair funky color. And you give me the confidence to do so.”

I’m not saying that to brag or because it’s your responsibility to inspire other people. But it is your responsibility to be true to yourself.

Stop living the way society tells you to live. Stop dressing the way society tells you to dress.

Everybody’s going to have an opinion.

Just like my mentor Jasmine Star says, people are going to have an opinion. If you do nothing, they’re still going to have an opinion about you doing nothing. So you may as well do something.

If you want to wear overalls, but don’t like your gut, wear the overalls anyway. If you feel fierce in fishnets and a crop top, girl you rock it.

I don’t care if some douchebag from high school commented on your picture. I don’t care if you’ve got a dirty look.

You do you.

The next thing you need to do is play.

What do I mean by play?

Do you enjoy running? Go play tag with your kids.

Do you enjoy baking? Did you enjoy baking in the past? Get some stuff to make cookies. Maybe try your grandma’s bread recipe.

Do you like to paint? You think you suck at it? Get out the watercolors and paint anyway. Girl, this is for you. You’re not doing it for anyone else.

Play. You get to know yourself through play. We encourage kids to do this. That’s how they know what they like and they don’t like by playing.

I did a podcast episode on this which you can listen to by clicking here.

You’ve got to be consistent.

Be consistent with the self talk, with the gratitude for your body. You’ve got to be consistent with dressing for you, you have to be consistent with playing.

That is how your brain is going to understand that you’re trying to make lasting progress.

Your job is to start telling yourself you’re amazing, to start thanking your body. Your job is to dress for you, not the way you think society wants you to.

Lastly, your job is to play and get to know yourself again.

If this really hits home for you and you don’t really know where to start, but you want to start somewhere, I’ve got something for you.

I highly encourage you to check out my free confidence course. This is a free five day crash course in confidence. Each video is less than 15 minutes long.. After five days, you are going to have all the skills you need to take on the world and apply all of this to your life.

I created this because I knew that there were women out there like you who needed this. Click here to grab your free course. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

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