There is one friend who I admire. He has a bad reputation among the Vietnamese society in Berlin. If someone hears his name they ask: “The creepy one?”. In addition, his reputation is so bad that he cannot comes near a girl. They flee. That comes from his lack of communication and social ability. But, I know his attention is always good and he seeks what everyone is looking for, friends, and love. And every time I take him with me he produces a chain of awkwardness non-stop throughout the night. But I ask him why this does not bother him that his reputation is miserable. He told me that external validation is poison to my life so I stop paying attention to it.
I respect him a lot for this and start to think about my reputation and external validation from others.
External Validation and Internal Validation
Which would you rather be? The most intelligent human being on earth but considered the stupidest? Or the stupidest human being but considered the most intelligent?
Which of the validation we tend to prefer lies back to our childhood, more precisely the education of our parents. In general, we loved to make our parents happy and seek their validation. If it is about the image of a good child or a rebellious it does not matter. In my case, as the face of my parent’s education success, I had to deliver the image. And with the years I used to care about my image and the external validation I receive.
But it stressed me out and brought me several times to the edge of total breakdown. I hated that people saw me as a loser or not a man. Furthermore, I constantly cared about others’ opinions about me. Looking back, I was pathetic, and seeking external validation or reward did not have an impact on my life now. Their opinions were a piece of shit. Even funnier, when people who did not know me judge me.
Shift to Internal Validation
Now I am like “Tell me more about me what I do not know”. I still live my life like I used to. Be there for my friends and family but with another intention. I do not care anymore what everyone thinks about me. Moreover, what I think about myself.
Years back, I committed to doing the most work in our family. As the only emotionally stable family member, I work hard to keep my family together. Here and there, I keep contacting all my split family members. How is my dad living with his girlfriend? And my mom, how does she live with her two grown boys moved away from her nest? How does my smallest brother deal with this situation? I do not seek “You are the best!”, “You are a son to be proud of!” anymore.
Instead, I seek harmony for myself that I know everyone is doing fine. So, I can sleep calmly. I do this tremendous amount of work not to have a good reputation. No, because that was the oldest brother and first-born has to do. Helping everyone and seeing my work bears fruit is the internal validation I give myself.
3 Reasons to shift from External validation to Internal Validation
In our generation and century, seeking external validation is poison. Moreover, in the world of social media like Instagram and Facebook. People who seek external validation only pays a lot about the number of likes in their post. Ever know someone who feels ugly? And post something to validate themself as beautiful again? This one is drowning in external validation and has probably a stressful life. Do you want that? Here are 3 reasons to seek internal validation instead:
- You spare yourself with an emotional rollercoaster
No thoughts of being loved or not, no disappointment of not receiving enough praise, and no emptiness after praise.
- Concentrating on prestige and reputation receive what makes us truly happy
Persuing a good reputation is just a false way to make our life meaningful. No one gives a shit about you. They just talk to deceive their problems. Do the thing you love and let go of external validation and you will soon realize that no one cares unless you.
- It is stressful as fuck.
No example is needed.
Summary – Why external validation is poison
Looking back, my friend is a true role model of how to be happy with internal validation. This is also the fundament of the growth mindset. All kinds of improvement should come from within not from external factors aka someone told you so.
In many cases, people ask me what they should do in life. And they try to seek validation if they do the right thing. “Is that I am going to do right?”. I can only laugh about this. My female friends can be the biggest hoe on earth and I would not give a fuck if they know what they are doing. As long they are good to me they can kill someone and I would help to hide the corpse. It is not our job to validate the rightfulness of their action. It is our task to let them realize and be aware of the action and consequences.
Also, the other way around, do not call them friends if they talking you bad about what you do if you think it is correct. And many people need to understand this. It is not your life to keep a good reputation as long as you are happy with yourself. And friends who still stick with you and do not judge are true friends.
That is why external validation is poison in every kind of aspect of life.