Why We Care What Others Think - The Need for External Validation

Posted by tonyoverbay

Tony explores why where the need for external validation comes from. Why do we care what others think? And why the need for external validation is the opposite thing to do for self-confidence and to feel connected to others.

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You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program, The Path Back, by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs and podcasts.

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[00:00:15] Come on in, take a seat.

[00:00:22] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode two hundred and ninety four. The virtual couch. I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I'm ready. I'm ready to get started. Let's dove right in today. It is story time. A couple of weeks ago, I had finished up a pretty heavy day at work. And honestly, don't get me wrong, I love everything about my job. I really do. But I guess it's what I hear from Dennis, from time to time that I've worked with. People don't go to the dentist because everything is going great. Even if you are just going for cleaning. There's this underlying fear of what if I have a cavity or what if they say I'm not flossing enough or my gums bleed, or they know that I don't floss on a regular basis? Am I supposed to swallow the water along with the cleaning stuff? And does this, Dr. Retford actually want me to answer him about who my favorite Marvel character is and why? Why is he asking me this while he's two knuckles deep into the left side of my mouth? But my point is people come to therapy to talk about problems. And again, I love it, but it's kind of just what it is. But by the time I leave my office, at times there can feel a little bit of emotional exhaustion. So on this particular time, I left and I just wanted to get home and I wanted to go on a run and my wife was busy.

[00:01:29] A lot of times she'll either run with me or she will jump on the bike and ride alongside with me almost looks like a scene from Rocky, and she's I'm running, she's writing, and we just process the day. I want to hear all about what she's been up to, and she'll ask me questions about what's going on with me. But on this particular time, she was busy. So I'm going to go on a run and I love to listen to audio books and the height of my ultrarunning career. I would just get up earlier and earlier, just especially when I was into a good book. I remember the book Unbreakable, which was about the Oh my gosh, I'm Louie Zamperini, and he was a World War Two, I believe veteran shot down in the middle of the ocean. I remember being so into that book that I just wanted to get up earlier and earlier, and I remember running the back side of the town that I live, and I was so into the book and I look up and I almost ran right into a skunk. It was really early in the morning, and I remember I screamed like a young child and I jumped out into the road and I remember thinking, I am so grateful that it was 4:00 in the morning because I didn't know anything.

[00:02:30] I didn't know where traffic was. I didn't know if a car was coming and if that would have been middle of the day and heavy traffic. I would have jumped right out in the middle of the car because I was so into this book and then I got scared by the skunk. But I but I digress. So I was running and I was listening to this audio book, and it's a good audio book. And I love it, but not this night. I just couldn't focus. I couldn't just stay with the story, so I switched to music. And then that just felt like so much noise. So I turned off my music, my audio books, and I just ran to my breathing and my footsteps and. And it's funny when I say this now, this isn't the point where I say something about mindfulness and running to my breath. And no, I was just in my head. I was running a really. I was running angry. I was disappointed that I couldn't even listen to music or a book, and I finished my run. And it turns out as I look down on my data, my watch, my app that it was the fastest run I've done in a couple of years since a meniscus tear that I suffered and have been struggling through for a little while. So I walk into the house and my wife asked me, how was my run? And I tell her it was great.

[00:03:32] And I noticed I was so aware of the fact that I wanted to tell her it was my fastest and that I couldn't listen to anything. But I also caught myself thinking a lot about the need for external validation versus validating oneself. And I hope you hang with me through this episode because we're going to talk about a lot of things that have to do with validation because I can imagine some might hear this and say, Well, of course you want to tell her it was your fastest run, and that was all the things going on in your head. But hear me out. So at what point again, I was thinking about external validation. So did I. What did I did? I want her to validate me and tell me how amazing I was versus self validation. I felt really good about this time that I had. And then at what point is the sharing of data? Simply a shared experience? And I am a huge fan of shared experiences. We don't do those enough. So I waited a couple of days and then I shared all of this with her, the things I'm sharing with you. And she said, of course, she would have loved to have heard about my time, my speed or not wanting to listen to a book or a music, which I appreciate it. I appreciated her saying that, but I shared with her that I had a little bit of an epiphany that I want to tell her my time, especially right then because I wanted her to validate me that I want her to say, Oh my gosh, my hero.

[00:04:43] There is no other soon to be fifty two year old man who could have possibly run that fast a mere two years after tearing a meniscus. Or did I really just simply want to share my experience with her? But the truth is, I am the only one who can truly know that, but I recognized that it was most likely the former. I truly probably did want to her to say my hero because I realized that there are a lot of things that she could have said that would not have left me feeling validated. And here's the key validated in the way that I wanted to be validated. Which is entirely unfair of me to put that type of expectation onto my wonderful wife because I can't honestly say in that moment that I knew exactly what type of validation I wanted. And so if she would have said that time is good, right, I would have said, really? Is that a question? I could only imagine that? Or if she would have said, how much faster is that than your previous time, then? I think I maybe wouldn't have been as excited because according to my Strava app, it was literally only a couple of seconds faster.

[00:05:40] I was looking for validation in the way that I wanted validation. So why on earth wouldn't I or couldn't I validate myself? I was happy with my accomplishment. I was happy with my time. I went through a period after running about 150 or so marathons and ultra marathons over 20 years that I wondered after this meniscus tear if I would ever be able to run more than a couple of miles again. Honestly, I tore it playing basketball. I didn't talk about it. I put on a ton of weight. I don't know if I've ever talked about it. I recorded a few episodes what I felt like immediately after going to a doctor. At one point I had put on a fair amount of weight. We're talking like twenty twenty five pounds and I was sitting there after an MRI and he's telling me your meniscus is shot and it looks like shredded chicken or something. I still remember that my wife was in the room and I was the guy saying I felt like Uncle Rico and Napoleon Dynamite, saying when I was in high school, I could throw a football over that mountain over there. I was saying, Oh man, I've run over a dozen races of over 100 miles in well over 100 marathons, and I felt like he was just looking at me thinking, Cool story, bro. You're twenty five pounds overweight.

[00:06:41] You've got a torn meniscus that isn't doing much for you right now, is it? So there were so many things that that I feel like I was seeking validation that I wasn't even aware of at that time. I'm going back to this experience just a few days ago, and so I never thought that I might even be back in the position where I was throwing down a decent time at five miles. So I was excited. So that evening that I ran, I did validate myself. And with this new awareness, I can imagine that I would have I could have then moved into wanting a shared experience, even in that moment. Hey, check this out. I had my best time yet. I was running a little bit angry and I couldn't listen to music. So you see, when we're able to self validate or avoid what one wise person once told me was called compliment fishing. I love that term, because how often are we just fishing for compliments instead of because our spouse doesn't really know? Where am I supposed to say, what's the compliment that you're looking for if you tell me? But then if we say, then it doesn't feel sincere. It's not sincere. Anyway, if I'm if I'm fishing for the compliment or if I'm seeking this external validation that I'm not even really aware of exactly how I'm wanting to be validated. But so if we can avoid that compliment fishing or that just seeking external validation just for the sake of seeking it, then we're able to remain more autonomous and independent.

[00:07:55] We're able to take a look at ourselves and then from this differentiated state and again, remember, differentiation is where one person ends and the other begins. And this is that fascinating goal of relationships. We are codependent and enmeshed more or less in our factory settings. And so when we start to be autonomous and interdependent and in differentiated that at first it can feel a little bit scary. It's like we're putting ourselves out on our own. And if we're coming from this enmeshment in a relationship, whether it's to our spouse or our kids or our church leaders or our employee or boss, that it's going all of a sudden feel like we're standing up for ourselves. And that's almost what we fear. We almost fear that we are kind of being a jerk. No, this is how I feel now. Instead of just saying, Hey, check it out, this is what I'm thinking. This is what I'm feeling. This is what I'm noticing, because when we get to this differentiated state, then we can share with our spouse with fascination or curiosity the contents of our mind. So at that point, there isn't anything that they could say that would be. And I'm going to air quote wrong, because how on earth would they or should they know what I'm expecting them to say? Instead of viewing things of you, you said the wrong thing.

[00:09:06] It's you said a thing. Now let's check it out. Where does that come from? Tell me more about that. And I realize it really does lead perfectly into my four pillars of a connected conversation. If she were to say, Is that time good and I am coming from this differentiated place, then I get to slide right into my pillar one assuming good intentions, she wasn't trying to hurt me with what she said. She wasn't trying to put me down with her comment that there is a reason why she's saying what she's saying or asking what she's asking, which then I get to move into my second pillar. I can't tell her she's wrong or put across the message that I don't believe her. That's ridiculous. Even if in certain situations I didn't believe her, I didn't really feel like that was the right thing, because that would just be my opinion. So even if she and I have had many, many conversations around time running times and how important I feel that certain mile times are, even if we had a poster on the wall that said, when Tony runs this fast in the future, then we will all celebrate because we know that that is a great time telling her that really, you don't know that that's a good time.

[00:10:03] That's ridiculous. You absolutely, absolutely know what a good time is, is not going to drive a connected conversation, if anything. Now we get to get out in the weeds and we're arguing about things that have no bearing. On the relationship, and then pillar three is questions before for me to say, Oh, hey, tell me what you think when you're thinking of a good running time, because now I want to, I want to understand her. I want to hear her. The goal of my four pillars of a connected conversation is to be heard. To be heard is to be healed. So if she were to say something like, I know we've talked about it, but I wasn't sure if you were saying this was a great time for you post meniscus or from before you were hurt. So I was just asking. And then Pillar four is staying present. Don't go into victim mode. What if I would have said, OK, I gotcha. I guess the conversations that we've had around running times of war did not stick. So therefore that means that I don't mean very much to you, and I shouldn't have even shared this with you because when we go into that victim mentality, when we retreat back into our bunker, we're asking our spouse to come rescue us then. And I wasn't even planning on talking about the four pillars, so I'll just leave that there. But from my waking up the Narcissism podcast last week, which again, if you haven't checked that out, please do and subscribe and rate and all that stuff.

[00:11:08] The feedback is just it's phenomenal. I sound a little bit in my ego there, but I've been humbled by the feedback to that podcast and the support there. But from the episode last week, there was a really fascinating quote by Dr. Eleanor Greenberg, and she was talking about traits of narcissistic personality disorder. So please understand, right? This second that as I am about to quote what she wrote, that I am not saying that, you know, listening to this right now is the narcissist. But if you listen to any of the Waking Up the Narcissism podcast or if you've heard me talk about abandonment and attachment, many of my previous virtual couch episodes just know that every little kid could be viewed as an egocentric, tiny narcissist in training because of their narcissistic traits. Because as a little kid, the world truly does revolve around you because you're coming from this place, that abandonment truly does equal death. You must get your needs met. The world does revolve around you. So if people are not meeting your needs, then therefore it could lead to abandonment. And abandonment is death. So you must get those needs met. So you must seek that external validation to know that I'm OK because if I'm not OK, these people might leave. And if they leave, I die.

[00:12:12] So coming in that context, and actually, I just did an episode on context last week, but in context, then she says that narcissism. So I'll say narcissistic traits or tendencies are a series of coping strategies that began as an adaptation to a childhood family situation that left the person with unstable self-esteem and the inability to regulate their self-esteem without external validation. And then she also added that I think this is the part with coming from little kids low, lower empathy. So then as we get older, the goal is to move from self-centered to self-confident. So then if you follow that, that train of train of thought or this logic when she's talking about series of coping strategies that began as an adaptation to a childhood family situation. So childhood family situation, meaning that we're trying to navigate the intricacies of childhood to get our needs met so that we won't be abandoned? And then she says that that left the person with unstable self-esteem. Ok, hey, welcome to childhood, you know, or adolescence or teenagers, or that this unstable self-esteem. I love that the way she phrases that and then the inability to regulate their self-esteem without external validation, which means that we feel confident when others say that we're confident we feel bad when others say that we're bad. So it would make sense then that if these are these traits or tendencies in childhood, that we would want to mature or grow out of them that then look at the opposites of these things.

[00:13:34] So then unstable self-esteem. We need to step into our self-confidence again, not self-centeredness, but self-confidence, and then learn to regulate our self-esteem without external validation, which means validating ourselves internally. The key to that is finding things that really matter, things that that you can take pride in things that you find a passion with. And she went on to talk about two just fascinating concepts. One is called whole object relations and saying that people that struggle with narcissistic traits, tendencies, personality disorder. So then I would say again, every little kid. So we want to mature into these, into these concepts. She talked about whole object relations. This is the capacity to see oneself and others in a stable and integrated way that acknowledges both the person's good and bad qualities. We all have them. We all have good and bad qualities. Can you look at somebody and see not just the bad, but the good? But then here was the even bigger one. She talked about object constancy, and I really recommend you go. Listen to this episode on the Waking Up the Narcissism podcast. I think I titled it something to do with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but object constancy is amazing. This is the ability to maintain a positive emotional connection to somebody that you like, even if for a while you are angry or hurt or frustrated or disappointed by his or her behavior.

[00:14:45] So how as a mature adult and human being, if someone suggests something different, if they say no to you, if they have a different opinion, it's this struggle with object constancy that comes into play. So if someone says, I don't like what you're doing, then all of a sudden, if we cannot maintain this object constancy, then that means that we just flip a switch and we go from hot to cold. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jekyll, I was for which one is bad. Which one is good, but can we maintain whole object relations that people can have their own opinions and just because they express an opinion doesn't mean that it is criticism? I talked to a couple of weeks ago ago about when we feel criticized. We again, our childhood programing says that we're so afraid of going into this shame spiral. And so if somebody says, Oh, I would have done something different and I talked, I gave a think I gave an example about something I was talking about with my wife. It's hard to not feel like someone else's opinion is criticism, so you have to mature. Look at it in a very mature way to say, Oh, that's their opinion. I want to know more because I'm confident in the things that I am expressing, or if I'm not, then I am open as a differentiated individual to hear other people's opinions.

[00:15:59] But that doesn't mean that my value or my self-esteem is based on other people's opinions, or that doesn't mean that I'm wrong to have another opinion. So when we feel criticized, we're so afraid of going into the shame, spiral or shame cycle that we do anything to protect our fragile egos, including getting defensive or when people will gaslight or when people get angry or they withdraw. So I really feel like the last few weeks I've the theme I think I'm trying to go here is that we need to step into our calm, confident energy, recognize that we are an individual, that we are the product of all of our again abandonment and nature nurture DNA. All of our experiences make us who we are, whether if we're talking in a religious context, you're a child of God, the only version of you, and you have your own talents and abilities. And the quicker you can find them, then the more you are going to feel confident and step into the self confidence. But even when you do now, all of a sudden, as you are differentiated and interdependent and you're the only version of you, then you are going to start feeling more invalidation because you are no longer absolutely seeking the external validation to tell you you're OK. But it's still in our DNA. It's in our programing to say, What do you think about what I'm saying or doing? And if somebody says I don't like it, then we need to get to this place to say, Oh, I appreciate your opinion.

[00:17:16] Tell me more. Not OK, well, I guess I'm a bad person or I need to change the way I think, feel or the things that I do. Elinor Greenberg said that without whole object relations and without this object constancy, that people with these narcissistic traits or tendencies, that sort of thing can only see themselves in other people. And one of two ways either they are special and unique and omnipotent and perfect and entitled, which she called high status, or they're defective or worthless, or she said, garbage, low status. So this means that the person struggling with these narcissistic issues or immature, I'll just say immature view of self or others cannot hold on to his or her good opinion and good feelings about somebody once they notice the flaw and someone else. Again, that's the immature way to show up. So then all of a sudden the other person goes from being special and put on a pedestal to being devalued as nothing special. But here was the big paragraph. So we are trying to grow into our mature, confident selves as adults and narcissists often seesaw and again narcissistic traits tendencies. The things we bring forth from childhood often seesaw back and forth between these two.

[00:18:17] So when we are feeling when someone is feeling good about you or more accurately, you are making them feel good about themselves. So when they are seeking external validation and you say the right things, then they see you as special because that makes them feel special. They aren't internally validating themselves. They are basing all of their worth on the opinions of others. But then what if the person doesn't say the right thing now? They feel criticized and they go into this defense mode so you can see we're just setting each other up for for failure instead of just saying, here's how I feel, how do you feel? And I'm telling you it could be that simple. It really could. So back to this object constancy, she says that when they are feeling good about you or more accurately, you're making them feel good about themselves. They see a special, then you do something they don't like, such as say no to one of their requests and suddenly you are now all bad or you are worthless. And then later on, you might do something that makes them feel good about themselves again, and they're back to seeing you as special. So my point in mentioning that is that this drive for external validation is the immature way to view oneself or others that as we can learn to be happy with our own times back to this running example and then share an experience and know that you're the person you're sharing the experience with can absolutely have a different opinion.

[00:19:37] Because if we are wanting them to tell us the things that we want to hear and we aren't even 100 percent sure what we want to hear, we're asking that person to validate a version of ourselves that we're not even sure of. So I will speak to that more here in a little bit. I've got a I've got a couple of notes on my outline, but let me get back to back on track. So again, left, I don't know, unchecked when we are seeking external validation, we want somebody else to help us feel good about ourselves, and that is not a good way to show up in a relationship. Back to my running example. I want my wife then to validate me. And not only that, I want her to validate a version of me that I'm not even in. Fairly certain of myself, so it's a safe bet that she is at a significant disadvantage of getting that right because if she's trying to read the room, read me and say the right thing to validate me. I hope you can see then that is far too many variables. But if I am validating myself, if I feel good about the time that I just clocked on the road, then I don't need her to validate me. So if I share an experience with her, then what I really want to do is share the experience and whatever she says is what she says.

[00:20:41] So then I can approach what she says with curiosity. If I'm my own person. And let me just add when it comes to connection polarity attraction, and I talk a ton about this in my magnetic marriage course. But the way to build that connection or that polarity in a relationship, that passion, that chemistry is not by seeking external validation, is by showing up with this calm, confident energy. And then and curiosity and genuinely wanting to know your partner, genuinely wanting to know their opinion, not who you think they are or who you think they should be, but get to know who they are. Because if they have a different opinion than you, even on your running time, then do not shut down. You do not say, Well, I guess you don't even care about me. No, you say, Hey, tell me what your thoughts are and then be prepared. Nay relish in the fact that she has another opinion because that is going to spark conversation. I was talking with someone yesterday and they put it so well I had to stop and type this out on some notes. He said Our mind doesn't realize that when we exit adolescence, that we exit this parental worldview that we have, that we have our parents there, that they have always swooped in and validated, you know, whether it's good or bad.

[00:21:50] But they have given us this attention, a.k.a. validation that we have thought helps us understand who we are, how we show up or where we fit into the world. He was saying, You pick up language and behaviors from your mom or dad, so at some point it truly is time to fly from the nest. You have your opinions, other people have theirs. And I'm telling you if we were all secure in our knowledge that we are literally all different, then we could celebrate it. If we can embrace that somebody is different than us, then it doesn't mean that something is wrong with us. It means that we are all human. There were just a bunch of people going around doing people things, and my goodness, this would be an exciting world. It would be more of this world full of depth and color and flavor. If we all could just step into ourselves and learn what makes us tick and we could share that experience with somebody and they could say, Tell me more and what do you think about that? And now we're collaborate. We're having this Dyadic collaborative process. We're processing emotion in concert with another human being. I was I was doing a little bit of research on this external validation, and I have to be so honest that I am going to. I'm going to quote someone, and I lost the source of who this who was saying this.

[00:22:55] So just know that some of the things that I'm going to talk about for the next probably five minutes or so as we wrap things up are going to leave it there. I will try to find this and put it in, the show notes. But the author was saying, What does an unhealthy reliance on external validation look like? They said not being able to confront people or disagree. Changing your thoughts and beliefs because someone else either approves or disapproves, and ascribing your self-worth to the approval of others are all examples of a reliance on external validation. If our and this is from Dr. Rita Stein, Professor of Psychology at Rutgers University. If our life plans are even just short term goals are guided by external criteria without a true understanding of what it is that we actually want or what fulfills and satisfies us, then we end up at a minimum disconcerted and unhappy and at a worse with a midlife crisis and severely depressed. And so this is where I found this this article. I talk about abandonment attachment. I think that they did a really nice job of just summing it up much more condensed than I do. But they just said, Where does this come from? When you're a small child whose whole existence and well-being depends on others, then rejection actually equals existential death. And since we are constantly hurt and validated and rejected and many overt and highly subtle ways as children, then a lot of us grow up into wounded and self selfless adults whose self-perception is skewed or blurry.

[00:24:11] So if we never explore or even recognize this phenomenon, this is seeking external validation or who we are as a person, then we, this author, said we are doomed to be dependent on other people's opinions and judgments and perceptions of us, which can make us so vulnerable to being manipulated and potentially being manipulative ourselves because we are manipulating others to get that external validation instead of learning to validate ourselves. So the author said for many, it means that they are defined by others. For example, if others think you're great, you must be great. If someone thinks you're bad, then you must be bad. And this goes back into that whole object relations that I was talking about earlier. We are all both good and bad. We were all just a product of the things that we have been through in our lives, and I would even check that and say we are all just having experiences. I won't even put it into the good bad category because those are all based in context of how someone was raised as someone's family situation, their need again, their nature, their nurture. And if they perceive you as flawed, accurately or inaccurately inaccurately, then you may. They have a tendency to feel horrified.

[00:25:16] The author said here such a person has two problems one, they constantly need other people's approval and validation to feel that they are a good person, to feel pleasant emotions or to even feel alive and to they feel shame or guilt or anger or loneliness or anxiety or confusion or other painful emotions when someone disapproves of and invalidates them, which then often leads to dysfunctional behavior to manage all of it. Now we're into the world of unhealthy coping mechanisms because somebody hurt our feelings because somebody disagrees with our point of view. And those are, and this is the part that I just, boy, it is fascinating. It's sad, but that we then move into adulthood with a lot of these childhood coping mechanisms and attachment wounds and abandonment fears without even knowing them. They're so deeply embedded in our subconscious that we, when someone invalidates us, then we will turn to unhealthy coping coping mechanisms. And it's a way that our own brain, our own body, is saying, I am hurting. I want to be understood. I want to be valued. I want to be cared about. But we're doing this now in this echo chamber of addiction or turning to our phones too often or food or bingeing on shows or pornography or drugs and alcohol and spending. And all of these things that then we do in secret because we feel so bad about the way that we're showing up in public.

[00:26:31] And why are we feeling bad about the way we're showing up in public because we are basing our self-esteem and our confidence on how people then react to us? But instead, we need to just show up. This is who we are. We're going to figure things out. We're navigating our life and it's going to get bumpy and messy. But as we start to do more and find more of a purpose and turn toward things that matter value based goals and take action on those and be aware of this, wow, it looks like I'm seeking external value. We're going to start to find ourselves. We're going to start to raise our emotional baselines and really step into the person that we need to be. And if our partner isn't up for that, then is that a mature relationship? Because you can't keep doing the things that you're doing if it is causing you to feel less than or not letting your light so shine so that others around you will not feel less than we are all put on this earth to shine, to do good things, to be the best version of ourselves, we can be because that lifts up people around us. It lifts ourselves up. So this is one of those situations where I feel we just get it all backwards, where people are just so again afraid of saying the things that they really think or feel or being the person they want to be.

[00:27:43] But yet that is exactly the thing to do to then raise your self-confidence and raise those others around you. And if they don't, if they don't step up as well, if they don't show up with curiosity, then is that a healthy relationship? And I'm talking about friends. I'm talking about spouses, relationships, jobs, churches, all of those things, because that is not the way to build one's self-esteem, self-confidence. The author then said that she said they'd give a few simplified examples. She said, If somebody likes your post on Facebook and everything is well and good, but if they don't, you start to feel terribly anxious or empty or invisible. And I was thinking about some funny things about this. I hear so often how many times do you come upon a post and nobody has liked it yet, and you want to like it, but you don't wanna be the first person to like it because you don't want it to look like you are just scrolling on Instagram or Facebook all day. If that post was just a minute before, instead of just being in the moment having your experience, I don't have to explain to anybody that I just got on Instagram and I was the first one to like a post. Who cares? But I hear people talk often about when I got there. I don't want be the first one because I don't want somebody to think that, well, that's all you do is to sit there liking people's posts.

[00:28:49] Or I talk often about YouTube versus podcasts. Boy, talk about invalidation. I will release this podcast today and it will get tens of thousands of downloads and I will feel very. I did not do video on this one today, but I will if I release the audio on YouTube and I have people that say that's the only way that they listen to podcasts. But if I put that out, it'll get one hundred views or listens. You know, kids these days, the teenagers that I still work with from time to time will pull up my YouTube channel and see, I don't know, a thousand followers and a bunch of videos, and none of them have a lot of views or likes, and they'll say, Oh, I thought your podcast was really popular, and then I find myself wanting to defend my fragile ego and say, Well, let me show you the download numbers on the podcast app. It's millions there are now. Do you think I'm impressive? So in reality, I enjoy putting out podcasts, people listen to them, and even if they didn't, I enjoy putting out podcasts. So even when we're trying to be aware and differentiate it and not seek external validation, our brain still goes there. So another example of this seeking external validation, and if somebody agrees with you, then you must be right and you feel confidence and joy.

[00:29:50] But if they don't, you feel threatened and lonely and upset and self doubtful and socially anxious and so on. So then you may spend your entire life, and many do, chasing after acceptance and validation and feeling terrified of rejection. This author went on to say, And we're going to we're going to wrap things up here as a coping mechanism. Some individuals become people pleasers who are afraid to be their true selves or take care of themselves. A lot of them don't even know who they. Really are or what they actually feel or what they truly think or what they like, and the author says their mental boundaries are closely enmeshed with others because they were raised to take care of others and neglect themselves. I heard a quote once that said, if you have always put yourself others first, then you're showing them that you see yourself as second and others then have developed this different, these different tendencies that tend to fall on the other side of the spectrum, where then they will disregard others or their boundaries or their humanity and only care about themselves. And that's what people start to talk more about when they're using the terms narcissism or antisocial behavior. So whether it's people pleasing or narcissistic or antisocial behavior or something, the underlying or often ignored question really is why? Why would somebody want to put another person down? Why do other people feel the need to put others above themselves? People want to be nice or people want power, or because deep down, we're hurt, we're empty, we can be anxious or lonely, or we may feel ashamed or guilty.

[00:31:15] But all of these traits, all of these tendencies of whether we have to put ourselves in a position of one up or better than are those we feel that we have to acquiesce or just always go to what is best for others, that both of those sets of behaviors can be referred to as some type of lower self-esteem. And which is fascinating in this other article. This isn't the one I was talking about. Am I waking up the narcissism podcast? The author said. Although narcissism is often falsely perceived as high self-esteem, when actually it's the opposite, it's incredibly low, low self-esteem, self-esteem and fragility. But that deep early fear of rejection and abandonment can haunt us forever, and that urge for validation and acceptance and the fear of rejection is all. It's there, it's present. It's almost like this background buzz of the refrigerator in your home. And so in so many cases, that does become the core issue or problem is this constant fear of rejection or abandonment. And so then as you grow into a mature adult, a mature human being, that that is where we recognize that fear of abandonment or rejection.

[00:32:24] But then we realized that was OK to get us through adolescence. But now we can get our needs met by ourselves, and that doesn't mean that we don't want a relationship. It means that we show up in a relationship confident. So now we are this we edify each other. It's the one plus one is three kind of a vibe and then differentiation. And I've talked about it when done correctly is going to come with a heavy dose of invalidation. And again, here's where it gets interesting. So by default, in relationships, I feel like we do put our best foot forward and that's OK. But what do we fear? What if we say or do the wrong thing that our partner will leave and remember? Abandonment equals death? So we do. We continually play this game of tug of war with our emotions and behaviors. And what should I say or do? How should I act? And that is exhausting. Imagine what it would feel like to be able to just be and to just say and just do. And if the other person doesn't respond in a way that we had hoped they would, that's OK. They have their own experience as well. I spoke to somebody recently about their experience with a difficult college math class that they're taking. They're behind and they don't want to go to their professor for help because of the fear of invalidation.

[00:33:28] We were able to track back experiences and their in their childhood or in their high school years, where a professor did say, Oh, you should know that. And so this fear of invalidation, this person said that they were worried that the professor will say, Well, you should already know this material and the professor because the professor had already lectured on the project. And I said to this person that what's so fascinating about this example is because the professor was in that moment most likely feeling and validated as well. And he was taking this person's request for help as criticism that he was not a good teacher. And so he felt like the student was then invalidating him and that he must not have understood the principles of the lecture because the professor must have been bad. So we're all walking through these minefields of invalidation on a daily or hourly or minute by minute basis, continually worrying about whether or not somebody will accept our offering to this collective consciousness of society. I think I've gone on too long, but I hope that you can see the message today that I would love for you just to be more aware of. Am I seeking external validation because I want the person to say, you're the best? Or am I trying to share an experience? And that's where it starts, is with awareness of the trans theoretical model of change. What a nerdy psychological theory.

[00:34:37] But it's amazing says that we go from not knowing to knowing. And then, even now that we have this awareness or knowing that doesn't mean now that we're going to be perfect at having this awareness or putting new things into play, that it's going to now take some intentional work. Because when you are not actively working on yourself, your brain is going to go back to the default patterns the deeply dug in neural pathways, a.k.a. the path of least resistance. So when you are aware that you are seeking external validation in that moment, even it's OK to say, Hey, check this out. I realize I am wanting you to say that I am an amazing person and that's not fair to you because. Or one you might not think I'm very amazing with what I'm sharing right now, especially the way I'm showing up. But number two, I'm not even sure exactly what version of amazing person I want you to say that I am. So instead, I need to feel confident in the things that I'm saying are doing, or I need to be able to express them in a vein of curiosity and saying, No, I'm not asking you to respond a certain way. I just want to share this experience. I would love to get your thoughts or your opinions and tell me about your experience with whatever the topic is we're talking about. And let's look at this with curiosity, and let's do this with the goal is to be heard, not to resolve or not to check some box.

[00:35:46] It's really to be heard to have a connected conversation so that we can grow closer together and so that we can feel safe, that every time we do have something go through our head, we can go share that with somebody that we care about, that we feel this secure attachment to. And then we can just start doing and thinking and processing. And that's the way that we're going to start to get to more of a connection or a confident sense of self. So I will leave you there. Thank you so much for taking the time with me today. Hope you have an amazing week. I would love to get your comments, your thoughts, your feedback. Feel free to reach out through to me through Tony Overbay. And once again, I have left the Betterhelp.com ad till the very, very end. But if you go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch, you'll get 10 percent off your first month in the world of online counseling. Go do what over two million people have done. Now you can start seeing someone virtually text, email virtual sessions within a couple of days, which is pretty incredible right now. There's a real, real difficult time or shortage and good therapists out there. And but go try that virtual betterhelp.com such virtual couch. Have an amazing weekend. I will see you next

[00:36:46] Time on the virtual couch.

[00:36:52] Compressed emotions flying. Starting out the other end, the pressures of the daily grind, it's wonderful. And that's waste and rubber ghost are floating past the midnight hour. They push aside the things that matter most wonderful. He. News of discount.

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