It’s really no wonder that those of us who identify as empaths learn to look to external sources for validation of our basic worth. Think about it: with the cascade of emotional data that washes over us, at least some of it will be a direct reflection, information about how others see us in any given moment. It’s like we’ve fallen under a spell, convinced like a faery tale character that this mirror is the true source of our worthiness.
Luckily, it’s simply not true.
It’s time to awaken from the spell woven around you by mainstream culture, the crucible of public school peer groups, and your own vulnerable heart. You are innately worthy of love, of respect, of success, of your most cherished dreams. You already know this, deep down inside.
The knowing is there when you become quiet and still in meditation. When you sit by the sea or walk in the forest and enjoy the presence of nature. It’s there when you are in the zone, caught up in doing what you most love to do. In this space beyond doubt, your self-worth arises from within, as naturally as a flower blooms in spring.
So then, how to you bring this piece of wisdom alive in your everyday experience?
“What people in the world think of you is really none of your business.” – Martha Graham
The problem with trying to get validation from others is that it’s an ever-moving target. Different people in your life value different traits and behaviors. Even one person’s needs and perspectives change over time. They are busy growing and evolving on their own path. It’s not fair to your loved ones, any more than it is to you, to tie your self-worth to their opinions.
Seeking external validation, once you realize that it’s unnecessary, is just a habit. By making a choice to change this habit, you’re on the path to breaking the spell entirely. Observation of your own behavior and reactions is key.
When you get ready to go out, before you turn to ask someone, “how do I look?” you can turn inward and ask yourself how you feel. Dressing yourself for an important event can be about choosing your favorite colors, wearing clothes that feel comfortable and sexy, and putting on your best smile. If you feel good, then you’ll project that confidence outward.
When you’ve created something – a piece of art, an essay, a new recipe – be sure to evaluate it yourself first, with an open mind. Jot down some of your thoughts about the piece, and how you feel it can be improved, before sharing it with others. I’m not saying that seeking feedback isn’t helpful. On the contrary, getting feedback about your creative work is often essential in crafting the final result you desire. However, examine your attachment to being “good” or “right.” Your creation is not a reflection of your worth as a person, though it might feel that way sometimes. If you share your creation with another person in order to get their input, remember the intention.
Meditate often. There are many ways to do so – traditional seated meditation, a solitary walk, mindfulness while you perform a routine task. Simply pick your favorites, and do them as part of your daily life. By regularly connecting yourself with your inner world, you’ll find the desire for external validation fading away. The habit of looking to others for your intrinsic worth will cease, and your self-confidence will strengthen.
As an empath, one of your strengths is your sensitivity, which enables you to be compassionate. When you choose to share that compassion with yourself as well as others, you’ll open up a vast inner world of possibilities. You’ll see how you are like all others, and yet also unique in your gifts. By seeing your own worth, you’ll be much more able to share those gifts with the world.