Unlocking Authenticity: Breaking the Cycle of Seeking Validation Through Helping Others

For 23 years, I have been a channel for healing, and in that time, I have spent a lot of time helping others, supporting others, organising plans for groups, and giving more than I received back, more often than not.

I volunteered, undersold myself, and charged the bare minimum at times, and while I was merely surviving and some of those paying me had more than I did, I didn’t realise I had chosen a role that was propping up my need for validation. It was making me poor, both in spirit and financially.

I was raised to believe that to be a good person, I was to be a giver, a helper, and a carer. The archetypal caregiver role. And while a big part of my nature is being a helper, because I have had many challenges in my life and it feels definitely part of who I am to help others who may be struggling or attached to suffering, I never asked if there was another part of me that was needing self-care and attention. I didn’t ask myself if I was meant to be a healer. I didn’t ask myself if I was finding it rewarding—as rewarding as it used to be.

When you have had a long time in an identity, it can feel hard to let go of that, especially when you can’t see the other road clearly. We can be looking for validation from our job, role, relationship, or status for a lifetime, but we will always come back to one thing: these things are transient and can change at a moment’s notice, whereas self-validation is consistent and grounded.

If you are a popular healer, therapist, medium, psychic, or any other kind of helper or carer, your popularity can wain. People change and look towards other things, so if you are looking to this to validate who you are, you may always fall short. You may do more and more to try and get people to share their positive feedback with you, but the fix is never enough. Being a healer or any kind of helper can become a drug, especially if the person using this role to prop up low self-esteem has an addictive personality. We can easily ditch one drug for another, that of validation from others.

Why is being a helper such a fix for those of us who may not have been shown our true value? Because it gives us a sense of being important and special, whereas our inner children feel far from being important or special, our inner children are often cowering in the corner, hiding, scared, and angry because they know we are more than that and we are hiding who we really are beneath the cloak of that identity or role.

How Do We Break The Cycle of Needing Validation from others?

First, we need to check in with ourselves: is the role we are doing satisfying us still?

If we are feeling bored, depressed, frustrated, or even angry with what we do, this is a big sign we have swerved off our authentic path.

If what we are doing is hitting wall after wall, if customers or clients are few and far between, if our business appears to have dried up, this may well not be the current climate we are in, but the fact that life in its wisdom is trying to move us back on track.

We then need to ask: What is it that really nourishes us? What activities or life pleasures light us up inside—those things we would do even if only one person saw them or none?

For me, I discovered and remembered it was writing—always writing. Writing was like a soothing healer during most of my darkest times in life. It was the tool that got me through depression, loss, isolation, grief, fears of failure, health problems, and more. I’d thought it was my path many years ago, but I shooed it away as not being able to pay the bills or take care of me.

Being a healer ticked all the boxes. It made me feel like I was able to help people. It made me feel like I was doing something important. It made me feel like I was a good person. I saw many other healers, mediums, psychics, and therapists all around me, and in my head, they looked like ‘good’ people, and it felt like a path that wouldn’t threaten people so much. I thought this was because of my toxic childhood. I had tended to put my head under the radar, not wanting to shine too much’ because my mother couldn’t accept me and often resented me when I did well in anything. You can read more about this here.

So being a healer allowed me a role that ticked the boxes and offered a potential income; however, long-term it didn’t provide an income, and when the clients didn’t come or they just wanted sessions with me on my special ‘cheap’ days, I felt despondent, and if I’m honest, it just wasn’t doing it for me anymore; the outer world wasn’t offering me the fake validation I had been looking for outside of myself. I had wall after wall; nothing worked, from being in a clinic to trying simple things like verifying my business on Google at not one but two venues to running giveaways where I had to literally drag people to me to get them to enter to win free sessions. And even though I know I am a clear channel for healing, this didn’t stop me from questioning my path.

All of this probably wouldn’t have happened if my best friend Michael hadn’t passed away in May 2023. The loss and grief broke open my heart; the pain was so intense and still is in many respects, that I was left with only myself and my thoughts at home, alone, with many big life questions.

Who am I?

When we genuinely start to ask, we start to receive answers, often in terms of more questions. I started to get an ongoing sentence in my mind of, ‘What if I’m not meant to be doing healing?’ and at first I just brushed it off, but it became louder and louder until one day a good friend came around for tea at my house and we were talking, and like me, she is a bit of a thought catalyst, and she simply said to me, ‘Kelly, I don’t think you’re meant to do healing like this with a couch’.

I sat there, gobsmacked.

She had just confirmed the inner voices and thoughts I had been having.

We talked about the fact that I am still a healing person, but that healing doesn’t always come on the therapy couch, and many people seem to look at these ways as the main ways to heal. Quite often, a conversation with a stranger can be healing. Cooking someone food after a big loss is healing. Singing is healing. Dancing is healing. Holding a space for someone to let out anger and frustration is healing. Writing and speaking are healing.

The door suddenly opened, and in that moment, I made the decision to quit being a healer with a couch. To let go of my business, Bright Light Healing, and start writing again. I realised I adore writing; it is what my soul loves to do; it is how my soul speaks to me; and when I get stuck or find life too hard, I simply ask myself what I need to know, and it just comes out through my fingers and flows onto the page. This is healing to me, and I hope it is healing to you too.

Finding our authentic path is a journey. Is writing my main path? I think so; at least it is one way of expressing my authentic self. Will it evolve into something else? Who knows?! Time will tell. Being a healer is still in my nature. I will offer these hands to friends and those I feel naturally drawn to work with, but as for it being my professional path, no.

I feel freer now.

Even if I don’t know how the bills will be paid, I feel more myself than I have in years. Parts of who I really am would seep into different things over the years. I didn’t know that was what was happening. From creating websites to making leaflets and working with images and words. I also took a break for about 2 years from writing, and since I made the decision to start again, I feel that if I have miss a time at my computer writing, I haven’t eaten that day, if this makes sense.

Validation comes from me now; I am not looking for a role to validate myself. I am just doing what I love to do.

Find Your Authentic Self

Finding your authentic self means dropping those jobs, work, and roles you have created that no longer work for you and being really honest with yourself. Be prepared for a grieving process because, if, like me, you have been playing a role or creating an identity for such a long time and people look to you as that role, it can feel like we have lost a loved one too. But if we grieve and then let go, we soon realise it wasn’t who we really were and that it served its purpose for a time, and that too was okay; that too was part of our journey.

It is then that we find genuine worth and value in who we are, because we are no longer a fake of our true nature.

Good luck discovering your authentic self and path.

 

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Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

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