Posted by fxckfeelings on October 9, 2015Share This Post
If, like the reader in our previous column, you have a need for validation—that quest for the evasive “gold star”—that can never be satisfied, therapy probably doesn’t have magic curative powers. With the following methods (and possibly a different kind of therapy), however, you can manage those needs without letting them control you.
1. Be a Good Friend, Not an Enemy
Make a list of the values you expect from a good friend or roommate, like honesty, responsibility, dedication, loyalty, and an ability to keep promises. If you don’t want to make a list as a friend would, create a report card as if you were a boss or Chemistry professor rating your possible protégés, whatever works.
2. See How You Measure Up
Use those criteria to rate yourself, focusing on your behavior and ignoring other people’s opinions as well as your own inner doubts, fears and insecure thoughts. The goal here is to be objective and fair; your inner-judge is a friend, not TV talent show judge.
3. Make It Right
If you assess yourself fairly and make the grade, then give yourself an A/high-five and proceed to validation rehab. If you find there are areas that need improvement, use your drive for excellence to set reasonable goals and devise methods for achieving them, using a therapist if necessary.
4. Harness Your Habits
Identify validation-hungry behaviors like smiling too much, over-praising, or over-apologizing. Again, create a report card if necessary to rate yourself in social situations, ignoring inner doubts, fears and insecure thoughts. Try for a zero score, regardless of urges to brighten your smile, express extra interest, or beg for reassurance that you’re actually a good person.
5. Power Through
No matter how hard it is to go cold turkey from getting a warm reception, ignore the depression/anxiety of validation withdrawal. Give yourself a medallion or a gold star after every noteworthy milestone of consecutive validation-free days, and keep giving the negative, needy thoughts the attention they deserve (none).
More advice from Dr. Lastname