When this dynamic is operating, we try to get a sense of ourselves from outside sources. For instance, we might define ourselves by our actions, our accomplishments, or maybe our possessions. It’s based on the illusion that we are incomplete and something outside of ourselves will complete us and make us whole and contribute to our happiness. Basically we are saying, once we have that promotion, that corner office, that bonus, things will be perfect. Or, if only this person (my spouse, my boss, my parent) acted better I would be happy. Those things are outside of you, as opposed to saying, “Look. I am whole and complete as I am. And I am just fine.” When this dynamic is no longer present, you have self-appreciation and are naturally happy. You recognize that external conditions do not dictate your self-worth. You are in control of your personal happiness.
Stay tuned for #6: Seeking Validation