How To Stop Seeking External Validation
Do your best and forget the rest!
I used to crave external validation.
I needed people to like my work, writing, and art; anything I did was for the sake of other people's approval. Throw in a healthy dose of lack
of confidence and a sprinkling of a fear of rejection by others, and I had a textbook case of being outcome-dependent. I depended on others for my happiness. This was a recipe for an unreal and unhappy existence.
But there is a way out of this inner struggle: becoming “Outcome-Independent.” Outcome-Independent means focusing on taking action, which is in our control, and not worrying about the outcome of our actions, which is outside our control. As my coach wisely says, "Do your best and forget the rest!"
Adopting an outcome-independent mindset is great because it helps to take the focus off of the external validation we feel we need to have to accept our work and instead do the work for the sake of our self-acceptance, learning, and growth.
Another benefit is that we focus on what we can learn from the outcome. If the outcome of our efforts is positive, great; and if the outcome is negative, that's also great because we can learn valuable information to improve for the next time. There is much we can learn from both types of outcomes, so it doesn't matter what the outcome is; we grow nonetheless and become outcome-independent.
There is a verse in the Bhagavad Gita that gets to the heart of the matter:
"You have the right to work, but for the work's sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working."
In my case, my coach helped me realize the mental trap I was in. I worried about the outcomes and what people would do or say. The shift I made was to realize that there are things in life that I have control over, such as my actions, words, and reactions. And there are things I don’t have any control over. Once I create something and share it with others, I can’t control their thoughts, words, or actions. What I can control is my reaction. If someone doesn’t like my work, I don’t need to worry about it. My main concern is my work, not what someone thinks about it.
By turning our focus inward to understand what makes us happy and sharing that with the world, we can begin to chip away at the fear of judgment we may have.
By focusing on doing work for enjoyment and the journey, we can gain the confidence needed to do our best without worrying about the outcome.
Let's let our work and the journey be the reward for us!
Let's focus on the learnings from any outcome!
Now is the time to become outcome-independent and to end the worry, doubt, and fear.
It’s time to move forward so you can achieve your creative potential confidently!
Till next time, stay strong!