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Why Needing External Validation Can Be Harmful

When I was growing up, I often felt like I needed to hear confirmation that the decisions I was making or not making, were correct, so I sought out external acknowledgment and validation from others. As I grew more confident in my judgment, I relied less on that external validation and more on my own internal wisdom. Now I rarely seek out external input, although when it occasionally does happen I see it as a growth opportunity.

The terms “internal” and “external” in this context is one of several NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) terms called Metaprograms. In short, Metaprograms are unconscious filters to process incoming information so you can utilize it in productive ways in your life or interactions with others.

Lately, I’ve been interacting with more people who are considered externally characterized, in that they need more feedback from other people. This feedback is used to let them know how well they are doing, usually specifically and sometimes in general. I bring it up because my aim is always to teach people how to listen, understand and accept their internal guidance first. The more externally characterized you are, the more you may seek outside confirmation causing you to lose sight of your excellent intrinsic wisdom and discernment skills.

Internal wisdom


You may be asking, “why would I want to modify this characteristic to be more internally focused?” The answer is in the questions.

• Would you like to feel more confident?
• Would you like to feel more purpose driven?
• Would you like to trust your skills, knowledge, and brilliance?
• Would you like to know that you are the one in charge of your life?

You were put on this Earth with innate skills of survival, and that includes trusting your inner guidance. It is only with your upbringing and life experiences that you learn to mistrust your natural wisdom.

Learning to trust yourself is a process. It starts with learning to hear, feel, sense and know when something is right or wrong for you. Trust begins with awareness. Where do you notice your guidance? In your gut? Does your throat tighten up? I promise you it’s not in your mind. I personally get a sense of knowing and an almost imperceptible feeling in my gut when something is right or wrong for me.

When you learn to recognize and acknowledge your information, you build your trust. When I would ignore my gut feeling (regardless of whether it was warning me or encouraging me), I always came to regret it later until I stopped ignoring it and began to trust and accept it.

I know in my gut and my heart that learning to trust your guidance is the difference between being lost or unfocused versus being empowered and in charge of your own decisions and the direction of your life. Which aspect would you rather live your life from?

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