The primary cause of depression is often an endless seeking of external validation, through the pursuits of daily living. This often leads to low motivation to continue one’s futile efforts. Not only does an inconsistent supply of expected external validation cause depression, it also can cause anxiety. Validation as we are taught is often externalized. You seek approval from others through your accomplishments or presentation.
Look at Me!
It’s like a child who goes “Daddy! Mommy! Look at me!” Now it is appropriate for children to seek external validation, because their brains are too immature to grasp the concept of unconditional self acceptance, talk less practice it. But for an adult to do this, indicates a lack of maturity in being able to establish comfort with his or herself. With such people, things are done from a superficial state of mind. In that action is taken with the intention of impressing an idea of oneself to outside observers, with the intention of receiving a specific feedback from said outside observers. This is often difficult to see in adults, as it presents itself in subtle ways.
For example, a formal attire like a tailor made suit or an evening gown will certainly impressive an idea of the person towards observers. However, if the mind of the person has been wired to habitually seek validation from observers, such a person is likely going to be often in a state of anxiety. Anxiety because the feedback he or she is looking for is going to be inconsistent. Depression because there are going to be times when the feedback never comes at all.
This is because the opinion of others can be manipulated sometimes, but not all the time. The best remedy for people who suffer from depression is to develop a genuine unconditional and positive acceptance of themselves. This does not mean that unhealthy habits and attitudes are left unchallenged. Instead it means that as the persons works towards being a better version of themselves, they maintain a foundation that they are fundamentally okay.
The mindset of internal validation requires humility and is self sustainable. From this mindset, improvements made within oneself don’t require any praise from society or an improvement in status. Rather improvements made within oneself will have pragmatic consequences in the persons activities of daily living.
Example of pragmatic consequences, would be someone who is able to reverse a diagnosis of borderline type II diabetes through weight-loss and a change of nutrition. While this person might receive some praise and acknowledgment from observers, he or she will feel a personal sense of satisfaction with the change of habits he or she has made. This sense of satisfaction will not come from the praise of others, but from the previous embracing of unconditional self acceptance he or she made prior to practicing the change in lifestyle.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions a counseling and life coaching practice in Tucson, Arizona. Ugo helps individuals and families in office and online. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book an appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.