External Validation

Do you rely on external validation or circumstances to feel confident, often using the phrase “I’ll be more confident when/if…”

“I’ll be confident when…”

A common misconception about confidence is that we gain it without effort, that it will happen when external circumstances align. By that we mean if you get that promotion, or manage to sort your finances, or qualify, or get thousands of social media likes, then you will feel more confident. What most people don’t realise is that it isn’t the circumstance that makes us feel more confident, it is the story we are telling ourselves about that circumstance. In effect, the thoughts we are having about it. Does this mean we can change our thoughts at any point and instantly feel more confident? Yes, it does. It’s simple, but not easy, and takes some practice, but yes, you can gain more confidence simply by changing your thoughts.

How does it impact our everyday lives?

Unfortunately, when we make our confidence conditional to something external, we are disempowering ourselves and climbing aboard a big, bumpy confidence rollercoaster that we have no control over. This means that we can find ourselves high on confidence some days, and down in the gutter on others. When we can’t trust the consistency of our confidence, we tend to believe that we aren’t confident at all and we cling to something external hoping it will bring us back up rosy again. It’s a bit like an addiction. Far better to invest in creating inner self-confidence that isn’t dependent on external factors.


Repeated rejection and impossibly high set standards can lead people to feel as though their worth is based upon other peoples opinions and views. In todays society this can be exacerbated by social media comparisons leading to an over dependence on other peoples opinions. Challenging your own negative thoughts and focussing on your own strengths can help shift this dependence onto a more internal validation.


Take a piece of paper and draw a spider chart with the word ‘Me’ in the middle. Then write down as many things as you can think of that you are proud of, that you have overcome, that you surprised yourself with, positive things people feel about you, skills and talents, people who love you unconditionally, positive words to describe you etc. Ask yourself how you would view this person if they were described to you like this. Do they deserve to feel confident, no matter what? Stick this somewhere visible to you and remind yourself often how amazing you are.

Download the worksheet below for more on how you can find more confidence in yourself without relying on others.