Validating yourself can positively impact your emotional well-being, interpersonal relationships, and behavior.

Self-validation involves acknowledging and accepting your strengths, achievements, positive attributes, and emotions. It also involves knowing that having imperfections and making mistakes does not take away from your worth or value.

Self-validation can be tricky, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the concept. But once you learn some ways to validate yourself, you may find that you:

  • rely less on others for validation
  • have more control over your emotions
  • have an overall improved feeling of worth

Mindfulness is a meditation practice that focuses your attention on how you feel in the moment without harsh judgment of the emotion itself. Mindfulness meditation can help you develop a non-judgmental view of your experiences and validate your feelings.

Evidence suggests that practicing mindfulness can help in several areas.

An older study from 2011 exposed people to mindfulness meditation for 8 weeks. Following the intervention, the researchers found that the meditation increased gray matter in some brain regions. The affected areas help with:

  • empathy
  • emotional regulation
  • decision-making

A 2019 study looked at how practicing mindfulness meditation may help with emotional regulation using grief at the loss of a loved one.

Following an 8-week intervention, the people involved in the study self-reported improvements in emotional regulation, anxiety, and depression, as well as an overall reduction in grief.

The study suggests that the people involved gained an ability to regulate and recognize their feelings.

When it comes to self-validation, recognizing and accepting your feelings can help you learn to validate yourself and find acceptance without needing external recognition.

When considering your emotions or achievements, try to picture how you would respond to a friend if they experienced them. Treating yourself like a friend may help give you a positive way to praise your achievements or accept and move on from negative emotions.

For example, if your friend made a mistake, you probably would not tell them they’re a failure or worthless. You would probably give them words of encouragement or offer other supportive sentiments.

Try giving yourself the same supportive self-talk or positive affirmations that you would a friend.

Similarly, you can give yourself words of encouragement for getting through a tough day or week. You likely will not get praise from your boss for this, but that does not mean you cannot celebrate your own victory and recognize the small achievement.

Journaling can be a constructive way to record your day-to-day achievements, frustrations, and mistakes. It can help you validate your successes and find ways to handle your disappointments and mistakes.

In a small 2018 study, researchers looked at whether online positive affect journaling helped people living with medical conditions improve their mental distress. They found participants in the study saw some improvements in quality of life when using the technique.

Positive affect journaling is a form of expressive writing where a person writes about past trauma or events for a period of 15 to 20 minutes. A person will often engage in the writing exercise for about 5 to 6 days.

The researchers also noted that previous studies found expressive writing helped improve the quality of life and mental well-being of different groups of people living with various health conditions, including high blood pressure and heart disease.

Journaling may not need to be a formal process for you to gain at least some benefit. Journaling can help you acknowledge your feelings and successes.

Sometimes, people who need external validation are unable to say no to others or express their feelings. They fear rejection or losing favor with the person. This may be particularly challenging for people who fear abandonment.

To practice saying no, you can start off small. For example, if a co-worker asks you to print off some copies for them and you’re behind on your work, try telling them no.

As you try saying no to people, you will likely find it easier over time. For other tips on how to stop pleasing people, consider checking out our article to help you identify people-pleasing behaviors.

No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s OK — and even beneficial — to acknowledge your shortcomings.

In a 2018 study, researchers found that self-compassion and accepting your flaws helps you to accept the flaws in others. Accepting others’ flaws with less judgment may help improve your relationship with coworkers, friends, family members, and others.

Also, accepting your own flaws may help you move on faster from mistakes that you make during the day.

Self-validation examples

To practice self-validation, try saying some of these things to yourself:

  • I am good enough.
  • Good job!
  • I’m making progress toward my goals.
  • Everyone makes mistakes.
  • My value is not based on what others think about me.
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People often seek validation from external sources. And although external validation can play an important role, some people neglect self-validation. This can cause an over-reliance and need to receive acceptance and praise from others.

Validating yourself can help decrease your dependency on what others think and feel about you. Once you learn to validate yourself, you’ll be able to recognize your accomplishments and accept your feelings and shortcomings.

It may also help you relate to others better and improve your overall sense of well-being.