The first thing I would like to ask is do you acknowledge your own opinions? Do you respect yourself, what are you saying to yourself and are you listening? If you do not do any of these things, then how can you expect anyone else to do it?
Many years ago, when I was a sophomore in high school, I developed a standard of validation. One day, I decided if a girl said something nice to me in the morning, I would have a good day. If I didn’t receive my morning compliment or word of encouragement, then by self proclamation, I would have a bad day. As I think back now…Wow! What a crazy way to live my life.
I made some progress in my life and broke the need-for-validation curse, but this continued into my adult life in many subtle ways. Through the years, I was seeking people’s validation and approval so I would feel accepted. Another word for acceptance is love. For some reason, I didn’t feel loved. The truth was many people loved me, but I had a difficult time believing it. In reality, this was my problem and not theirs.
I have heard people say, “I hate myself,” or “I can’t love myself.” This statement is hogwash. I’ve said it many times throughout my life but, if I really hated myself, then I would be glad when bad things happened to me. Think about it!
Do you wish good or bad on those you say you dislike? We are called to love our neighbors (even our enemies). The Bible tells us in Matthew 22:37-39 and this is the first commandment of the New Testament. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. He wouldn’t have told us to love our neighbor as ourselves if it wasn’t a sure thing. Have you ever rejoiced when bad things fell your way? No, we get angry because we think we deserve better. I think we can say we do not hate ourselves, but we hate the things we do. We have to separate the bad things we “do” from “who” we are created to be. As a man thinks in his heart so is he. (Proverbs 23:7) If we believe we are worthless and no good we can be assured we will act worthless and no good.
If you have put the burden on your spouse or anyone else to make you happy (or to make you feel good) you might as well give up because the only one that can make you happy is you. I wasted many good years waiting for someone to make me happy and I discovered, all this time, it is my responsibility.
Some of you may be thinking that I’m putting a stamp of approval on you getting a divorce when actuality I’m saying the opposite. What I’m saying is no other person is going to make you happy. It starts with you. So quit blaming each other and start working on yourself.
I recently read a letter my wife sent me over 5-years ago. We both had come to the realization that we could not make each other happy and neither she nor I needed validation from the other. This was so freeing for the both of us and it opened the door for us to genuinely love each other.
There have been many times I had received hugs and approval from so many people and it really felt wonderful, but inside, I still felt something was missing. That was when God spoke to me and let me know that no matter how many people validated me His validation was the only one that really mattered. What are some of God’s validations?
- “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14
The first step - Take God at his Word. Believe it to be true regardless of your circumstances. Easier said than done I know. It takes time to believe the truth because with me those were just words. John 8:32 says, Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
The second - Choose. No one can make you believe you are loved, accepted, wanted, cherished. You will have to start making the choice to believe that what God says about you is the truth.
The third - Don’t make it hard for others to love you. We still have a responsibility to love and encourage one another, but this should be the icing on the cake. We provide the cake. They provide the icing.
Lastly, encouragement and praise should confirm your belief about yourself, not contradict. We could line 1000 people up and they could tell us a positive quality we have, but if we don’t believe it, then they are wasting their time. No matter how much water (Love and Affirmation) they pour into our glass, if we have a hole in it, (disbelief) then it is in vain. Have others been fruitlessly pouring water into your glass? After a while, they will get tired of pouring love into a glass with holes in it.
If God said we are okay, then we have to believe we’re okay, and that settles it!