I believe that we all have that one experience that changed the game for us, taught us something valuable, or changed the way we see the world. So far, one of the most important life lessons I have learned is not to seek validation from others. Luckily or not, I had to learn it the hard way, but on second thought, it must have made it all the more precious that way.
Walking down the memory lane, I cannot quite pinpoint when it all started, but I can say that pretty much my whole life, I was seeking validation from others for everything I did; my exam results and grades, my achievements, all the competitions I enrolled, the jobs I had, etc. Whatever the case, I would always first focus on what other people thought of me. Then, based on the feedback I got, I would decide whether or not to continue with the process.
I don’t know where that insecurity stemmed from and why I considered that validation crucial for my success, but I know that it all lasted for so long and had such a powerful influence on me that my life became completely different as soon as I broke that cycle. I would like to believe that it was a mandatory part of growing up and developing my sense of belonging to a group.
Since it’s absolutely impossible to please everyone, I would often get negative feedback based solely on other people’s feelings rather than factual arguments. So, regardless of how hard I tried, I always felt that I wasn’t doing enough, and I felt disappointed. One day, I simply decided to let that notion of having to be accepted go. I allowed all the things I enjoyed to come to the surface, and then I picked what I liked most and focused on it. I would probably never believe had anyone told me how fulfilling that choice was. It obviously became easier to focus on my career without the fear of judgment that inevitably comes from others. That shift did not reduce the negative feedback, but it marginalised its impact on my choices. I regained a sense of freedom and felt motivated to grow, learn, and experience more than ever.
Now, when making tough or important decisions, I do rely on the opinions of people I trust and care about, but I would never again let someone else’s opinion take control of the way I live my life.
Do you think we should rely on others more, or shall we exclude everyone’s opinion from the choices we’re making? And what is the lesson you have learned that changed your life?