For most of my life, I’ve been the girl that was constantly seeking validation and approval from other people.
I am a sociable person who values relationships more than most things. So, to feel “liked” or “accepted” by somebody else gave me an unexplainable thrill.
When I was younger, I got such pleasure from eavesdropping on conversations where my mom’s friends would tell her how well-behaved I was. And as I grew older, being liked by my peers was even more desirable. I teetered the line between wanting some attention but not too much. I wanted people to notice me. But I also didn’t want them to notice what I thought were the negative parts of me. (The unibrow, for starters. Indian girls are hairy. Yes, even at the tender age of five).
In elementary school, I used to bend over backwards to appease my friends on the playground. I promised them beanie babies and brownies. Anything that I could gift them to make them want to stay my friend.
In middle school, I was the girl who brought nearly 25 Christmas gifts for other girls in my class. Not expecting any gifts in return. Just their friendship.
This is what I thought was necessary to build closeness. To develop a relationship with other people.
I had to DO something FOR someone in order to RECEIVE love for myself.
And then, I, in turn, took THEIR love for me and somehow felt validated. Their love defined my worth.
20 years have gone by since those days. 20 years have gone by and so much has changed.
That approval and love and validation that I had been chasing after for twenty years is here.
But it didn’t come in the way I had once imagined. It didn’t come from running after people screaming, “LOVE ME. HUG ME. BE MY FRIEND.”
Instead, it came in my 30s. When I stood in front of my mirror and said, “I love you. I love you with every piece of me. You don’t need to do a single thing for anybody else to believe that you are worthy of this love. You are worthy of this love because you are you. And you are amazing.”
It’s kind of funny to see what the universe brings to you when you make that kind of shift within your self.
Once you make the choice to love yourself – no matter what – the universe throws an abundance of love your way. In so many different forms. From so many different people.
Turns out that people tend to gravitate toward happy people. People tend to want to spend their time with people who are confident and positive and content with life.
I didn’t know it back then.
But I do now.
The love and validation was within me all along.