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The Curse of Relying on External Validation

Human beings are social creatures who crave validation and acceptance from others. The need for approval is ingrained in our very being from an early age, starting with our desire to please our parents and earn their approval. This desire for validation can continue well into our adulthood, impacting how we approach our work and personal lives.

In the workplace, this need for external validation can manifest in different ways, such as employees seeking praise and recognition from their managers, peers, or even customers. However, while receiving positive feedback is important and can be a great motivator, relying solely on external validation can become a curse in the long run.

One industry that has seen a rise in the need for external validation is the HR consulting services industry. Companies have begun to outsource HR systems and remote HR management to third-party service providers. While this can be a cost-effective solution for startups, it can also lead to a greater need for external validation. As the HR functions of a company are being managed by external sources, employees may feel disconnected from the company culture and may become overly concerned with what the third-party service provider thinks of them.

Here are some of the reasons why relying on external validation can be problematic:

  • It can lead to burnout.

When people rely too heavily on external validation, they may become overly concerned with what others think of them, which can result in chronic stress and burnout. They may feel the need to constantly prove themselves to others, which can be exhausting and unsustainable in the long run.

  • It can lead to decision paralysis.

When people are overly concerned with what others think of them, they may struggle to make decisions without seeking the approval of others. This can lead to decision paralysis, where people feel stuck and unable to move forward without the reassurance of others. This can be detrimental in the workplace, where quick decision-making is often required.

  • It can limit personal growth.

When people rely on external validation, they may be less likely to take risks or step out of their comfort zones. This can limit their personal growth and prevent them from reaching their full potential. They may feel too afraid of failure or of what others may think of them to take the necessary risks to grow and develop.

  • It can lead to a lack of authenticity.

When people rely too heavily on external validation, they may lose touch with their own values and beliefs. They may be more concerned with pleasing others and conforming to societal norms, rather than being true to themselves. This can lead to a lack of authenticity and a sense of disconnection from one’s own sense of purpose.

  • It can be unreliable.

Finally, external validation can be unreliable, as it is dependent on the opinions and actions of others, which are outside of our control. People may receive praise and recognition one day and criticism the next, which can be confusing and disorienting. Relying solely on external validation can lead to an unstable sense of self-worth and confidence.

So, what can we do to break free from the curse of relying on external validation?

First, it is important to cultivate a strong sense of self-awareness and self-worth. This means developing a deep understanding of our own values, strengths, and weaknesses, and learning to appreciate and accept ourselves for who we are. When we have a strong sense of self, we are less likely to be swayed by the opinions of others.

Second, it is important to focus on intrinsic motivation, rather than external validation. Intrinsic motivation comes from within and is driven by a sense of personal fulfillment and purpose, rather than external rewards or recognition. By focusing on our own sense of purpose and passion, we are more likely to take.