People who rely on external validation often display these 9 behaviors (without realizing it)

There’s a fine line between confidence and dependency.

Feeling validated by external factors is a natural human instinct, but relying too heavily on it can be a slippery slope to self-doubt.

People who constantly seek external validation often exhibit certain behaviors without even realizing it. They’re not always obvious, but once you know what to look for, you can spot them easily.

Let’s journey together as I unveil these 9 behaviors that people who rely on external validation often display.

It’s an eye-opening perspective that might change the way you see things.

1) Constantly seeking approval

It’s human nature to want to be liked and accepted.

But for those who rely heavily on external validation, this desire becomes a necessity.

These people yearn for approval from others, often going to great lengths to gain it. They may constantly check their social media likes, obsess over their appearance, or bend over backwards to please others.

This constant need for approval stems from the belief that their worth is tied to what others think of them. Unfortunately, this can lead to a never-ending cycle of seeking validation.

And as normal it is to want to feel validated and liked, it’s important to recognize that if your self-worth begins to rely too much on others’ opinions, it could indicate a need to reassess your approach.

2) Over-analyzing interactions

I’ve been there myself.

I used to replay conversations in my head over and over again, scrutinizing every word, every reaction. I’d worry about how I was perceived, whether I said the right thing, or if I could have done something differently.

I remember one time after a casual coffee meet-up with a friend, I spent hours over-analyzing our conversation.

Did I talk too much? Did I seem interested enough? Was my joke funny or just plain awkward?

It was exhausting and honestly, quite unnecessary.

That’s a classic behavior of someone heavily reliant on external validation. We tend to overanalyze interactions because we’re hyper-aware of how we come across to others, often due to a fear of being judged or misunderstood.

If this resonates with you, it’s important to realize that not every interaction needs to be perfect.

People are generally more focused on their own behavior than scrutinizing yours. It’s okay to make mistakes and be human.

3) Difficulty making decisions

The fear of making a wrong choice can be paralyzing for those who rely on external validation.

They may find it difficult to make even simple decisions without consulting others first. This is because they’re often worried about the potential judgement or criticism that could come with a wrong decision.

Did you know the term for this is ‘decisional procrastination‘? It’s a form of avoidance where a person delays making a decision due to fear of negative outcomes.

This can lead to chronic indecisiveness and reliance on others to make choices. In this case it’s important to build your decision-making confidence. Start with small choices and gradually work your way up.

The main idea here is that it’s okay to make mistakes – that’s how we learn and grow.

4) Fear of rejection

Fear of rejection is a pervasive concern for those who rely on external validation.

The thought of being rejected or disliked can be incredibly daunting. They often go out of their way to avoid situations where rejection could potentially occur.

This fear can manifest in various ways – avoiding expressing opinions that may be unpopular, reluctance to ask for help or favors, or even staying in unhealthy relationships for fear of being alone.

When the fear of rejection starts dictating your actions, it’s worth taking a step back and reassessing.

Rejection is a part of life that everyone experiences. What matters most at the end of the day is staying true to yourself and your values.

5) Constantly comparing to others

People who rely on external validation often fall into the comparison trap.

They measure their own success, abilities, and worth against other people’s achievements.

Whether it’s a colleague’s promotion, a friend’s picture-perfect relationship on social media, or a neighbor’s new car, they often view these as benchmarks they need to reach or surpass.

However, constant comparison to others can lead to feelings of inadequacy and rob you of your joy.

Truth is that the only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday. Focus on your own growth and progress.

6) Feeling undeserving of success

This one often hits close to home for many.

People who rely heavily on external validation sometimes struggle to internalize their achievements. They may feel like they don’t deserve their success, attributing it to luck, timing, or other external factors.

It’s a phenomenon known as ‘impostor syndrome,’ a term that perfectly captures this feeling of being a fraud, waiting for others to discover your ‘deception.’

It’s a heartbreaking reality for many incredibly talented and accomplished individuals.

If you’re feeling this way, let me remind you – you are deserving of your success. You’ve worked hard, you’ve persevered, and you’ve earned it.

No amount of external validation can give that to you, and no lack thereof can take it away. Your accomplishments are yours to own and to celebrate.

7) Over-apologizing for everything

Apologies are powerful when used sincerely and appropriately.

I remember when there was a time when “sorry” became my go-to word, even when I had done nothing wrong.

I would apologize for things beyond my control, like bad weather on a group outing or a delay in public transport. I’d even apologize for expressing my thoughts and feelings, as if I was infringing on someone else’s space.

This over-apologizing was a result of an ingrained fear of offending others or being perceived negatively.

However, I’ve since learned that over-apologizing can diminish one’s self-esteem and may even lead others to doubt your competence.

Do you find yourself constantly saying sorry for no real reason? Then it might be worth exploring why. It’s essential to respect others’ feelings without constantly undermining your own.

8) Adjusting behaviors based on others

People who rely on external validation often adjust their behavior, opinions, or preferences based on the company they keep.

They may agree with someone else’s opinion, even if it goes against their own beliefs, just to avoid potential conflict or to be liked.

This constant adjustment of self can be exhausting and confusing. It’s like living multiple lives, changing your colors as a chameleon does to blend into different environments.

While it’s normal to behave slightly differently in various social situations, it becomes a problem when you’re constantly suppressing your true self.

Stand firm in who you are. Your unique perspective and authenticity are more valuable than fitting into any mould.

9) Low self-esteem

At the root of all these behaviors lies low self-esteem.

People who heavily rely on external validation often struggle with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. They believe they are not good enough unless they receive continuous affirmation from others.

Remember, your worth does not lie in the hands of others. It is inherent and unchangeable. You are enough, just as you are.

The journey back to self

As we navigate through life, it’s natural to desire acceptance and validation from the world around us. However, when this validation becomes the main source of our self-worth, we run the risk of losing ourselves in the process.

The behaviors we’ve discussed are signs of a deeper struggle – a longing for approval that stems from a belief that we are not enough on our own. This belief is a fallacy.

The renowned psychologist Carl Rogers once said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” It’s a profound statement that underlines the importance of self-acceptance in personal growth.

If you identify with some of these patterns, know that it’s never too late to shift your focus from external validation to internal worth.

It’s a journey of rediscovery, where you learn to trust your instincts, value your opinions, and most importantly, embrace yourself wholeheartedly.

You are enough. Your worth is inherent and doesn’t waver with someone else’s opinion. It’s time to reclaim your power and rediscover the joy of being authentically you.

Feeling Adrift? Pinpointing Your Values Guides You Home

Do you sometimes question what really matters most in life? Feel unclear on the principles that should steer your decisions and path ahead?

It’s so easy to lose sight of our core values. Those essential truths that align our outer world with profound inner purpose.

That’s why life coach Jeanette Brown designed this simple yet illuminating values exercise. To help you define the 5 values most central to who you are.

In just a few minutes, this free download leads you to:

  • Discover what matters to you more than money or status
  • Clarify the ideals your choices should reflect
  • Create a guiding light to inform major life decisions

With your values crystallized, you’ll move through the world with intention, confidence, and meaning.

Stop drifting and download the Free PDF to anchor yourself to purpose. Let your values direct you home.


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