Earlier this week, I responded to a post at Survivors' Club. It got me thinking.
The post was about validation, needing it, and how to cope. Many people with eating disorders seek validation from others. It's as though their own opinions aren't valid enough. We seek to be what we think will bring us praise from others. Many of us do great things, think "hey I did a pretty good job," then automatically think our own thoughts of validation are not good enough. Accomplishing things can be tough when you constantly look for validation from others. Remember this: It matters most what YOU think and how YOU feel.
But in any case, I came up with a pretty decent way of coping. It's at least worth a shot; it may not work for everyone, but it's certainly a new spin on positive reinforcement. I work through this issue of seeking validation often, and I've discovered something that is helpful. No matter how well I think I have done at something, no matter how much I think I have accomplished, or no matter how much I know that my accomplishment is a good one, I continually seek validation from others. I'm a people-pleaser. I want to be the best. I'm a perfectionist. I know a lot of us are.
So here it is. My little thought that's turned into more...
I know it might sound completely strange, but try to think of yourself as multiple people for a few minutes each day or when you have accomplished something and are seeking validation. Write down your "selves" if it helps. (You will see them more clearly and won't forget anyone!) For example, I would have these:
Me the Writer
Me the Woman
Me the Caseworker
Me the Fiancee
Me the Daughter
Me the Sister
Me the Friend
Me the Artist
Figure out all the things you are--and just make them separate selves for a moment. See them all in their own light. Let them separate and become more than one entity. Then see how each of them would react to your current achievement or accomplishment. What would Me the Writer think? What would Me the Daughter think? Etc. It will be (and feel) like validation from others, but really it will be validation from yourself. And trust me, YOU are the essence of any of your own accomplishments, so it's only natural and proper that your own opinion matter most.
This trick is different than just thinking, "Well, I think I did okay/pretty good," since we all know the "I" doesn't always seem like enough validation. So, by making the "I" multiple people, you can feel better in certain cases. At the very least, it seems like a good exercise to practice now and then...and by doing so you will start to feel more and more appreciative and accepting of your own thoughts and opinions. Self-validation, my friends! Easier said than done, I know...
So, try it. You never know what a good start it might be.
Best of luck as always!