“If outside validation is your only source of nourishment, you will hunger for the rest of your life.” Ouch. As someone who has spent my entire life craving validation, this quote hit close to home.
I just realized how much external validation I spend my life searching for. As a little girl, I wanted all the positive reinforcement. Straight A’s and all the typical “good girl” tasks checked off, tick tick tick. I acted as though my entire life was being graded instead of just my schoolwork. My parents actually begged me to make a B to ease the pressure. I wouldn’t.
In my career, I thrive on positive feedback. As an attorney, that comes in the form of drafting a winning motion or receiving a good job from my bosses on a bit of research. I feel myself constantly climbing and reaching for that “atta girl.”
Guess what my love language is as a wife? Words of affirmation! My love tank is only full if there are as many “that dinner was great” as there are little squabbles. I love compliments, and words of appreciation, and “I’m proud of you” makes me melt.
My role as a mom has been no different. I am constantly reading articles online, books, consulting professionals, and questioning my decisions for them about everything! From the type of bottle I use for my daughter to whether my son has contact dermatitis from laundry detergent, I question whether I am doing the right thing and seek that outside validation. I call my mom, I ask my friends, and I post in mom groups on social media.
Until I had a thought.
Why is my own conviction not good enough? Why do we as mothers always seek outside validation?
I am good at my job. I’m a good wife to my husband. I know I am a good mom. I act with their best interest at heart and I love them fiercely. So while I am going to still value other opinions and do research, I am going to end the constant hunger for outside validation. I am going to stifle the looming mom guilt that makes me question everything. I am going to trust my gut, my research skills, and my experience. Because at the end of the day, a sense of self-worth is nourishment for the soul.