As you go through each day, from where does your confidence stem? Does it come from your level of success at work, your bank account, your stuff, your parents' approval, your popularity among your friends, pleasing other people, or something else?
I think a number of things contribute to our level of confidence, feelings of validation and sense of self-worth. I know I've been through times where I allowed certain external factors influence my sense of self worth more than they should. I've been influenced by my sense of belonging or rejection and get off balance. Many times I've let my social life dictate my validation too much. At other times, I've let my tendency to people please rule my sense of validation.
I know it's not true or honest to my core, and eventually I'll hear the words of my mentor, Rhonda Shasteen, ring through. She says, "Be true to yourself." I also hear the words of my dear friend and concert pianist, Yana Reznik, telling me that things didn't start happening in her life and career until she started doing and saying what she was thinking. It's as if removing those filters we place on our lives out of fear, releases a stronger self that lives within us. That stronger self that emerges is one that has been stifled for much of our lives. It has been listening to a voice that tells us to be afraid of what might happen if we do and say what we really think. That doesn't mean you have to be crass or mean. You can be honest with a kind heart.
When it comes to developing self worth and a sense of validation, hose words develop an ever-deeper meaning. When I hear, "be true to yourself," I hear, "be honest with yourself about what you like and don't like. Pay attention to what you really want to do in order to drive the decisions you make." In other words, don't do something just to appease another person if you really don't think you should.
As I've been practicing being true to myself over the last years, I've developed a deeper understanding of my true sense of confidence and self worth. I've learned that I can say yes or no and make decisions to be true to myself. Then, I see how I can make decisions in confidence from the inside out, rather than making decisions to be true to myself from the outside in or becuse I am forcing myself to.
With practice, being true tomyself has become more internalized, so that I'm sensing it come from a true place of confidence and self worth. That's when I realized I'm finally to a place of feeling validation from within. I am the one who validates me and my worth, and not anyone or anything on the outside. It was an amazing jaw dropping moment for me to finally get to this place I had been working towards for so long.
I still have to practice as it isn't completely innate, but I've recognized it. It gets easier to tap into and hold onto every day. Then I feel good that I'm still growing up. I think we all do keep growing up for our entire lives with life experience and self-reflection.
So what validates you? I hope it is you, because you can!