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S2 EP177 – The Vital Importance of Self-Validation

Episode Summary

Do you feel a deep sense of self-worth? Do you know how to validate yourself or are you dependent for your sense of worth on others approval and validation? Changing from external definition of yourself to internal definition can move you out of anxiety, depression, and the fear of failure and into a deep sense of inner peace and joy.


Hi everyone, Dr. Margaret Paul here with the Inner Bonding podcast. Today I’m addressing the topic of the importance of learning to validate yourself.

From the time we are born, we need validation. Loving parents offer consistent validation to their children, validating their feelings, their perceptions, their gifts and talents, their particular form of intelligence, their interests, their kindness, caring and intuition. You are very fortunate if you received this kind of validation from your parents.

If your parents also validated their own feelings, perceptions and so on, then you are extremely fortunate, as you likely learned to do this for yourself from their role modeling.

However, if your parents did not validate you or themselves, then the chances are that not only do you not know how to do this for yourself, but you don’t even know that it is your responsibility to validate yourself.

Since I received very little validation as I was growing, and I never saw my parents validate themselves, I had no idea how to do it or even that it was possible to validate myself. Now I know that self-validation is not only possible, but absolutely necessary to feel inwardly peaceful, secure, worthy, and have loving relationships with others.

Do you spend a lot of energy trying to get validated by others? What do you believe validates you?

  • Do you believe that making a lot of money does or would validate you?
  • Do you believe that others’ approval is what validates you?
  • Do you believe that someone having sex with you is what validates you?
  • Do you believe that being married with children validates you?
  • Do you believe that being famous validates you?
  • Do you believe that being thin validates you?
  • Do you believe driving an expensive car validates you?

What else comes to mind regarding what you believe validates you?

As long as you don’t know how to validate yourself, you will keep doing many things to get external validation, and this can be very tiring.

In order to validate yourself, you need to start to notice two things:

  • You need to start to notice how much you judge yourself rather than value yourself.
  • You need to start to notice your feelings, your inner knowing, and your acts of kindness to others, and consciously value them.

Judging yourself is the opposite of validating yourself and creates much inner pain and insecurity. Self-judgment is generally a form of control to get yourself to do things “right” so that others will validate you and approve of you. But as much as you may succeed in getting others to approve of you, as long as you are judging yourself you will continue to feel badly about yourself.

All feelings are informational, letting you know when you are abandoning yourself with your self-judgments and various addictions, and when others are being uncaring toward you and disconnected from you. As you learn to attend to your feelings and validate the information they are giving you, you will start to feel a deeper sense of self-value. As you learn to trust your inner knowing rather than make others your authority for what is right or wrong for you, you will start to feel more inwardly powerful. When you choose to be kind to yourself and to others and to value yourself for your kindness, you will find yourself feeling more secure within yourself.

Think of your feelings and inner knowing as an actual child – your inner child. If you had an actual child and you wanted to raise that child to feel very secure, loved and valued, how would you treat that child? How do you wish you had been treated as a child? This is how you need to treat yourself – your own inner child if you want to become a self-validating person.

And you need to do a third thing to self-validate:

  • You need to take loving action on your behalf based on what is loving to you – on what is in your highest good. In order to do this, you need to be devoted to learning to see yourself through the eyes of your higher self rather than through the eyes of your ego wounded self. You need to tune into the wisdom of your higher self to know what is loving action toward yourself and others. Your inner child will not know that he or she is important to you if you do not take loving action on your own behalf.

Loving actions might include:

  • Speaking up for yourself in conflict situations with others and telling your truth without blame or judgment, with an intent to learn.
  • Taking care of your body through eating well, getting enough exercise and enough sleep, and lovingly managing your stress.
  • Creating a balance between work, rest, play and creative time.
  • Treating yourself and others with respect and compassion rather than with judgment.
  • Attending to, rather than ignoring, your own feelings and needs.
  • Taking the time to pray, meditate and practice Inner Bonding.
  • Choosing to notice your thoughts and practicing inner self-discipline regarding your thoughts.
  • Choosing gratitude throughout the day.
  • Moving yourself toward doing work you love…

…and so on.

You will discover yourself feeling better and better about yourself and needing less and less validation from others as you take these steps toward loving yourself.

The essential aspect of validating yourself is understanding what creates a deep sense of self-worth and learning to define your own self-worth.

We all want to feel good about ourselves but many of us go about this in ways that will never create a deep sense of self-worth because they are based on externals rather than knowing and valuing yourself on the soul level.

While externals, such as looks, money, performance, approval, possessions, can result in momentary good feelings, none of them create a deep and abiding sense of self-worth.

Self-worth has nothing to do with your looks, achievements, or with other people.  

Self-worth results from two things regarding your inner relationship with yourself:

  • How you see yourself, and
  • How you treat yourself

Lawrence, a client of mine, is a very successful businessman. He is very wealthy, lives in a big house and has a yacht, has expensive cars, a beautiful wife, and four children. But Lawrence consulted with me because of his low self-worth. He was perplexed that he continued to feel so inadequate despite all that he had achieved and all that he had

As we worked together with Inner Bonding, it became apparent that, no matter what the outer truth was, Lawrence continued to see himself as the inadequate child his father told him he was. His inner dialogue was often self-critical, judging himself just as his father had. He also went further -actually treating himself as his father had treated him – ignoring his own feelings and needs. As a result, Lawrence was always looking to others for the love, attention, and approval that he didn’t receive from his father and was not giving to himself. Instead of being a loving parent to the child within himself, he was a harsh and inattentive inner parent – until he started to practice Inner Bonding and learned how to love himself.

Imani, another client of mine, is a very successful actress. Yet fame and fortune have not given her a deep sense of self-worth. No matter how many people tell her how beautiful and talented she is, she still feels inadequate and insecure most of the time. This is because, on the inner level, Imani is constantly telling herself that she is stupid. “How could I have made that stupid remark?” “How could I have acted so stupid?” Mirroring her mother’s own self-judgments and her judgments toward Imani, she is constantly putting herself down. Until Imani learns, through her Inner Bonding practice, to see herself through the eyes of her higher self, rather than the eyes of her wounded self, she will continue to feel inadequate and insecure. 

No matter how much you achieve or how much approval you get from others, if you are treating your inner child badly – abandoning yourself by ignoring your feelings, judging yourself, turning to addictions to numb your feelings, and making others responsible for your sense of self-worth – you will continue to feel inadequate and continue to seek outside validation. If you continue to see yourself through the distorted eyes of your parents, siblings, peers, or teachers, and continue to treat yourself in the unloving ways they treated you, or the ways they treated themselves, you will continue to experience low self-worth.

If you open to seeing the truth of who you really are – a beautiful divine soul who just wants to share love – then you will treat yourself as you would treat anyone whom you saw as a beautiful divine soul. When you consistently practice Inner Bonding and learn to take loving action on your own behalf, you will feel valued rather than inadequate.

When taking loving action on your own behalf replaces your inattentive and judgmental behavior toward yourself, you will discover that you feel a deep sense of self-worth. Simply put, high self-worth is the result of loving yourself rather than abandoning yourself.

Think for a moment about who and what defines your worth and lovability. Who do you give the authority to validate you? Is it your parents, your children, your partner, your friends, or your employer, your employees, or your audience?  Is it one person who defines you, or is it the important people in your life, or is it everyone – anyone you happen to meet?

Take another moment now and think about this: How and why would any of these people know your true intrinsic worth? Why would any of them have the authority to define your goodness and worth as a human being?

I used to believe that if someone didn’t like me or was upset with me, it meant I wasn’t good enough. Everything changed for me when I realized that no one actually has the authority to decide this for me!

So who does have the information and authority about my intrinsic worth?

God, spirit, my own higher self, my spiritual guidance – whatever I tap into that is beyond my programmed mind and the programmed minds of others.

Unfortunately, our programmed wounded self believes that our worth is defined primarily externally by our achievements, and sometimes by our looks. The wounded self often believes that our abilities – such as our intelligence and our particular talents – are fixed quantities. Since they are fixed, why make any particular effort to learn and grow? These false beliefs of the wounded self stop our essence – the part of us that loves to learn – from tackling new tasks, such as learning Inner Bonding and connecting with our spiritual guidance, or learning another new skill. “I’m just not good at this,” says the wounded self, “so why try? If I try and fail, then everyone will know that I’m not as smart or as talented or as enlightened as they think I am. If I were good at this, it would be easy for me. It’s not worth taking the risk of failure.” Since, to the wounded self, failure means “I am a failure,” the wounded self often refuses to put forth much effort.

When we are operating from our wounded self, we are constantly trying to look right and perform right, in order to get others to like us, love us or approve of us. The wounded part of us feels worthy only when receiving validation from others.

However, our essence is like all small children – intensely curious and wanting to learn about EVERYTHING! But if, in our families and schools, we learned that our worth is defined by our success rather than by our intrinsic qualities, and if we were taught that our abilities are fixed, rather than that they can be developed with effort, we might have given up making effort fairly early in life.   

This creates much anxiety. We feel unsafe when our whole sense of self-worth hinges upon having control over getting others’ approval. We may even feel panicked when we fear making mistakes and running the risk of disapproval and rejection.

The wounded self believes we can have control over how others see us and feel about us. Therefore, according to the wounded self, if someone doesn’t like us, it must be our fault: “Did I say something wrong?” “What did I do wrong?” Believing it is our fault gives the wounded self a sense of power and control: “If it is my fault that someone doesn’t like me or rejects me, then I just have to figure out how to do it right, and then I can have control over how others feel about me.”

The wounded self does this because it has a major false belief that there is something intrinsically wrong with you – that you are inherently bad, wrong, defective, flawed, unimportant, unworthy, inadequate. This is called core shame. As small children, if we didn’t get the love we needed, we may have concluded that it was our fault, rather than recognize our parents’ inability to love us in the way we needed to be loved. If we had recognized our parents’ woundedness and limitations, we would have felt crushingly helpless over getting the love we needed. Instead, most of us chose to try to have control over getting the love we needed, and over avoiding the rejection or abuse we feared. The only way we could feel this sense of control, was to believe that their behavior was our fault.

We concluded that since their lack of love was our fault, we must have been somehow defective. Accordingly, we needed to believe in our own inherent defectiveness, in order to feel a sense of control over our parents’ behavior.

The problem is, we forgot that we actually chose to believe in our core shame; many of us now operate out of our core shame as if it is who we are. When we believe we are inherently defective, we then have to hide our real self, our essence, and try to become what we think we need to be to be acceptable. The wounded self takes over and loses touch with our true soul self – who we really are. We are stuck defining ourselves through our looks and performance, and we are stuck suffering the anxiety that comes from being so vulnerable to others’ disapproval.

When we move into the intent to learn, one of the things we need to learn about is who we really are. However, we can’t know this through our mind’s eyes – the eyes of our wounded self who is filled with false beliefs. We can know who we truly are only through the eyes of truth, the eyes of spirit.

When we look at ourselves through the eyes of truth, we can begin to move beyond defining our self-worth externally and learn to see who we are internally.

Think for a moment about what you really value in others. Do you value a fancy car over kindness and caring? If you had a choice between two friends – one who was good looking, wealthy, closed and sometimes mean, and the other, who was plainer, not as rich, but open, loving and kind – who would you pick? Whenever I’ve asked people this question, no one has ever said, “Oh, I would pick the meaner one.” In others, we often value honesty, kindness, generosity, compassion, understanding, empathy, vitality, humor, acceptance and so on. Yet many of us rarely define our own self-worth by these qualities.

Defining your self-worth internally means opening to learning about your true soul self. Try to imagine who you were before your wounded self took over. Were you loving, caring, fun, alive, creative, sensitive, passionate? If you had you as a child, what would you value in that child? Would the child be worthy in your eyes only if he or she performed right or looked right, or would you see inside to who this child really is?

In relationships, when we make another responsible for defining our self-worth, we will then try to control how that person feels about us. This creates many problems in relationships since we are trying to get love, rather than share love. Only when we accept the responsibility of defining our own self-worth and learn to be loving and validating to ourselves, will we have love to share with others.

Take a moment to think about this:

If you are defining your self-worth by your success, your money, or your looks, does this mean that if you fail, lose your money, get old and lose your looks, or start to be forgetful as you grow older, you lose worth as a human being? Does an infant have no worth because he or she hasn’t yet proved themselves? Would you be willing to start to define your worth by your enduring internal qualities, such as kindness, devotion, compassion, warmth, honesty, openness to learning, sincerity, integrity, generosity, commitment, reliability and so on? Is it outside validation or the inner love of learning that you value the most about yourself? Do you have to succeed to have worth, or can you fail and still find joy in the process of learning and growing? 

The good news is, it’s never too late to define your own worth. It is never too late to change your mind about who and what defines you. You will find yourself motivated and excited about life when you define yourself by your internal qualities and re-discover the joy of learning!

Earlier in my life I didn’t feel seen by others. Since I never felt seen by my parents, I figured this was just the way it was in life. While sometimes I felt sad or angry at not being seen, I mostly just accepted it.

However, once I started to practice Inner Bonding and connect with my spiritual guidance, I gradually learned to see and value myself – my true essence. Over the years of practicing Inner Bonding, I grew less and less tolerant of not being seen by others. 

I questioned this with my guidance. “Why,” I asked,” since I now see myself so clearly, it is it still important to me to be seen by others? I thought that if I saw myself, I wouldn’t need to be seen by others.”

Here is her answer to me:

“My dear one, it’s true that you no longer need to be seen by others, as you did before you learned to see yourself. But why would you want to spend time with people who don’t see and value you? It doesn’t feel good to not be seen accurately by others who are important to you. It’s healthy that you have become less tolerant of not being seen and valued. In the past, due to not seeing yourself, you tolerated not being seen, but this was not loving to you. Disengaging from people who don’t see you and who project their own issues onto you is loving action toward yourself.

“The feelings you get when around someone who doesn’t see you are important for you to attend to. These feelings are letting you know that you need to disengage, either from the person or from the interaction.” 

I used to pride myself at being able to tolerate so much unloving behavior toward me from others.

Now I see that tolerating others’ unloving behavior was a controlling way of getting them to think I was a good and caring person. Now that I know I’m a good and caring person, I’m not much concerned with what they think about me, which has opened the door to being aware of how badly I feel when others are unloving to me. Now I see that tolerating others’ unloving behavior toward me is not loving to myself. It was a strange concept to me that becoming less tolerant is progress!

Now, attending to the feelings I have when someone doesn’t see me means taking loving action on my own behalf. The more I don’t tolerate others’ unloving behavior toward me, and take loving action, the more valued and loved by me my inner child feels.

I look back at my life before Inner Bonding and I’m astounded that I used to believe I was being a loving person by tolerating others’ unloving behavior toward me. At that time, I never looked through the lens of what was loving to ME. I only looked through the lens of what seemed loving to OTHERS, so that they would like me and not reject me. Now that I’m loving me, I don’t even think about whether or not others are going to like me or reject me. I’ve stopped taking others’ behavior personally, but that doesn’t mean that I want to be around people who don’t see me and value me.

Whereas I used to value myself for tolerating others’ unloving behavior, now I value that I DON’T tolerate it!

Defining your own self-worth and your own goodness and validating yourself is a great and liberating freedom!

I invite you to join me for my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships, and learn to validate yourself and define your own worth.”

And you can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books:

And we have so much to offer you at our website at

And, if you enjoyed this podcast, I would really appreciate it if you tell your friends about it, and if you give it a review wherever you heard it.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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