Firstly, the fact that you’re asking yourself this question is commendable. It reflects both your self-awareness and your honesty with yourself. It takes courage to confront ingrained beliefs and patterns of behavior, especially when they concern something as deeply personal as self-worth and validation.

So, let’s delve deeper into this with compassion and understanding, exploring the complex factors that may contribute to the tendency for some women to rely on men for validation and self-worth.

Seeking validation from others, particularly from men, often stems from a deeper sense of insecurity and low self-worth. It’s a natural human response to seek external reassurance when we doubt our own worth. However, treating validation-seeking as the sole issue overlooks the underlying emotional struggles that fuel this behavior.

Instead of blaming ourselves for seeking validation, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s a symptom of deeper emotional wounds.

We are inherently born into this world with self-worth. There’s nothing we have to do or be to earn it. But then life happens. Perhaps someone said something hurtful to you at school, or a family member made comments on your abilities or appearance. Maybe the person you liked in college didn’t reciprocate your feelings, or a teacher criticized your intelligence on your math test calling you a “dopey Dora” (true story).

And sometimes life’s challenges are more severe. Abuse, whether it’s mental, physical, emotional, sexual, or spiritual, can deeply impact our sense of self-worth. When someone is hurting us, it can be difficult to believe that we are lovable or worthy. Abuse can push our self-worth down to unimaginable depths, leaving us feeling lost and broken.

Furthermore, let’s observe society for a minute, it’s apparent that it constantly bombards women with messages that fuel insecurity. From advertisements urging women to erase wrinkles and smooth out cellulite to societal pressures to appear younger and smell better, the overarching message is clear: women should feel inadequate. Society, it seems, feeds off the insecurities of women. And these messages are brought to the forefront of young girls at an early age, shaping their perceptions of self-worth and beauty from the outset.

Self-worth is a fundamental human need. When we feel worthy, we feel lovable and valuable, essential for our emotional well-being and ability to thrive in this life.

As interdependent beings, our sense of worthiness influences every aspect of our lives, from our relationships to our health and finances. Research has shown that adverse childhood events (ACEs) can have significant effects on our lives. They can lead to infidelity, health issues, and negatively impact various areas such as finances and relationships.

The impact of our childhood experiences on our adult lives is profound, shaping our beliefs, behaviors, and relationships.

For example, let’s discuss one of my clients whom we’ll refer to as Samantha for privacy reasons. Samantha constantly finds herself in toxic relationships, seeking validation and acceptance from partners who mirror her own negative self-image. Despite her achievements in her career, Samantha’s sense of worthiness remains fragile, leading her to tolerate abuse in her relationships. In a desperate attempt to feel valued, Samantha pours herself into her work, seeking praise and recognition from colleagues and supervisors.

Yet, no amount of external validation can fill the void of worthlessness she feels inside especially around men. Samantha turns to unhealthy coping mechanisms. She numbs her pain with excessive alcohol consumption, seeking temporary relief from self-doubt that plagues her.

However, each drink only serves to deepen her sense of shame and self-loathing as she begins to cheat on her partner perpetuating the destructive cycle of low self-worth.

It’s only when Samantha confronts the root causes of her insecurities that she begins to find healing. Through therapy and coaching, she uncovers the childhood experiences and traumas that shaped her negative self-image. By acknowledging and addressing these wounds through self-reflection, Samantha gradually learned to cultivate self-compassion and self-acceptance. With time, she began to break free from the cycle of self-sabotage and experienced healthier, more fulfilling relationships based on mutual respect and genuine connection.

And then some women invest significant time and resources in enhancing their external appearance, whether through excessive gym sessions or procedures like botox and fillers. While there’s no judgment passed on these choices, it’s essential to delve into the motivations behind them. Some may believe that enhancing their appearance will heighten their worth and desirability, particularly in the eyes of men.

Though some claim it’s for personal satisfaction, subconscious desires for external validation may still linger.

However, it’s important to differentiate between looking after oneself from a healthy perspective and pursuing aesthetic enhancements solely for external validation. Engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and prioritizing mental well-being are all essential components of self-care. When these practices stem from a genuine desire for self-improvement and well-being, they contribute to a positive sense of self-worth and confidence.

It’s about nurturing ourselves holistically, both inside and out, rather than seeking validation solely through our external appearance.

How do we know if we have self-worth issues? Here are some common signs:

Imposter syndrome: Feeling like a fraud or constantly doubting our abilities. Constantly trying to prove ourselves: Seeking validation through achievements or accomplishments.

Unhealthy Relationships: Drawn to and trapped in toxic relationships – believing that they’re not deserving of better treatment. Also, being in a relationship, even a toxic one, validates their worthiness or fills a void within themselves. Or may settle for less than in relationships e.g. dating married men

Perfectionism: Striving for perfection can be an attempt to compensate for feelings of inadequacy, as individuals with low self-worth may believe that only flawlessness can make them worthy or deserving.

Always looking for the next best thing: Feeling like we’re never enough and constantly seeking “more”.

Being a people pleaser: Putting others’ needs before our own and seeking approval from others.

Constant self-criticism: People with low self-worth often engage in negative self-talk, berating themselves for mistakes or not being good enough.

Having no boundaries: Allowing others to dictate our worth and failing to assert our own needs.

Financial issues: Difficulty in managing finances may stem from feeling undervalued or unworthy.

Addiction: Using substances or behaviors like alcohol, sex, or gambling to fill the void of worthiness we feel inside.

Fear of failure and avoidance of challenges: Due to a lack of self-belief, they may avoid taking risks or pursuing new opportunities for fear of not measuring up or facing rejection.

Seeking constant reassurance: People with low self-worth may frequently seek reassurance from others, looking for validation and affirmation of their worth.

When You Know Your Worth You Feel:

Loved: we allow ourselves to receive love and affection from others without questioning our deservingness. For example, we accept compliments graciously and believe that we are deserving of love in our relationships. We choose healthy relationships.

Valuable: recognizing the importance and significance of our presence and contributions in various aspects of life. For example, we understand that our skills, knowledge, and experiences are valuable assets that can positively impact others. Whether it’s offering support to a friend in need, sharing expertise at work, or volunteering in our community, we realize that our actions have value and can make a difference in the lives of others. Knowing that we bring something meaningful to the table (very important when dating too, be confident in what you know you bring to the table).

Confident: Understanding our worth instills confidence in our abilities and decisions. For example, we trust ourselves to make choices that align with our values and goals, leading to greater self-assurance in various aspects of life.

A woman who knows her self-worth is fierce. She becomes ‘too much’ for people because she’s an unapologetic force, challenging the norms and expectations placed upon her by society. When a woman knows what she wants and knows who she is, she radiates a confidence that is undeniable, and good luck trying to manipulate her. She navigates through life with clarity and purpose, unswayed by the opinions or judgments of others. Others may see her as intimidating or unconventional, simply because she refuses to conform to outdated stereotypes or societal norms.

Here’s a great exercise you can do right now to understand your worth and overcome your past. Grab a notebook and answer the following questions:

1. Reflect on your earliest memories of seeking validation. Can you identify any specific instances or patterns from your childhood or adolescence where you felt the need for external validation? 

2. Consider your past relationships, both romantic and platonic. Have there been recurring themes or dynamics where you felt the need to seek validation from partner? How have these experiences shaped your beliefs about your self-worth? 

3. Explore your inner dialogue and self-perception. What are the predominant thoughts and beliefs you hold about yourself?

4. Examine the role of societal expectations and norms in shaping your sense of self-worth. How have cultural influences, media portrayals, or societal standards influenced your perception of what it means to be valued or worthy?

5. Reflect on your past experiences of rejection or criticism. How have these experiences impacted your self-esteem? Are there unresolved emotions or wounds that need healing?

6. Consider the qualities or attributes you seek validation for. Are there specific aspects of yourself that you feel insecure about or undervalue?

7. What underlying insecurities or fears might be fueling this need for external validation?

8. Explore the dynamics of your current relationships. Do you feel supported and valued for who you are, or do you find yourself seeking validation to feel accepted or loved? 

9. Examine the connection between validation-seeking behaviors and your emotional well-being. How do you feel when you receive validation from others? Are there moments when external validation provides temporary relief but fails to address deeper emotional needs? 

10. What internal sources of validation could you cultivate to bring forth your self-worth? How can you shift your focus from seeking validation externally to nurturing self-compassion, self-love, and self-acceptance?

Despite the challenges we may have faced in childhood, we have the power to heal and transform. One way to do this is with inner child work, a process of reconnecting with and nurturing our inner child, can be profoundly healing. By addressing the traumas and wounds that made us feel unworthy to begin with, we can reclaim our sense of self-worth and break free from destructive patterns.

Reparenting ourselves is another powerful tool for healing. If we had parents who didn’t make us feel safe or valued, we can learn to provide ourselves with the love, nurturing, and validation we need. By reparenting ourselves, we can create a sense of safety and worthiness from within.

So, let’s summarize how we can stop relying on men for our self-worth:

1. Recognize the Pattern:
Acknowledge the tendency to seek validation from men. Understand that this behavior may stem from deeper insecurities and unresolved emotional wounds.

2. Inner Reflection: Reflect on past experiences and relationships. Identify patterns where self-worth was tied to male validation and if there were any judgments about the way you looked from men?

3. Address Root Causes: Explore childhood experiences and traumas. Understand how these experiences shaped your perception of self-worth.

4. Focus on Self-Validation: Focus on developing internal sources of validation through self-compassion, self-acceptance, and acknowledging your own worthiness.

5. Set Healthy Boundaries: Establish boundaries in relationships to prioritize your own needs, values, and well-being.

6. Seek Support: Consider seeking guidance from therapy, coaching, and mentors to navigate your journey towards self-worth.

7. Challenge Societal Norms: Challenge societal expectations and norms that perpetuate the idea of women’s worth being tied to male validation.

8. Embrace Personal Growth: Focus on personal development and growth, pursuing interests and goals that bring fulfillment and joy independent of others’ opinions.

9. Practice Self-Love: Engage in self-care practices that nurture your mind, body, and soul, and celebrate your strengths and achievements.

Remember, reclaiming your self-worth is a journey and I want you to know that no man, person, or thing can ever measure your worth.

You are inherently valuable, unique, and deserving of all the love and happiness life has to offer. Your true empowerment will always come from within.

So, as you rebuild yourself, know that you are not alone. You have the power within you to rise above any challenges and become the best version of yourself. Trust in your journey, trust in your worth, and trust in the incredible potential that lies within you. You are worthy, deserving, and capable of defining your worth on your own terms.

Now from a spiritual standpoint: One of the most well-known passages regarding self-worth is found in Psalm 139:14 (NIV), where it says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

This verse highlights the idea that each person is fearfully and wonderfully made by God, reflecting His divine craftsmanship and inherent worth.

If you’re ready to own your worth, secure your spot on the waitlist for my upcoming course,
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