10 psychological traits of people who don’t seek external validation

People who seek outside validation generally do so because they lack self-confidence. The approval of others is key for their emotional comfort.

But those who don’t crave external validation are a different animal entirely. They are self-assured and confident. They require no other approval for their decisions and actions but their own.  

They don’t view their life as needing a consensus or feel their choices should be the result of a group decision.

People who don’t need external validation have the inner strength and self-awareness to understand themselves deeply. Because of this, they feel no one is more qualified to call the shots in their life than they are. 

And they’re right.

Here are some psychological traits shared by people unafraid to chart their own course.  

1) They trust themselves 

Self-trust is listed first for a reason. It’s the most crucial component of self-confidence, the bedrock that ensures outside validation is rarely needed.  

Confident people are self-assured and trust their own judgment. The only type of validation they need is self-validation. 

They make their own decisions, whether minor or major, without agonizing or vacillating. They certainly don’t rely on others’ opinions before making them.

It wouldn’t even cross their mind.

This doesn’t mean they’re infallible or never make the wrong call. They do make mistakes as we all do, but they own those decisions, no matter the outcome.  

Confident people learn from their missteps without wavering or letting a mistake turn into a need for outside validation.

This is a valuable trait that breeds resilience and self-reliance, two qualities that build one’s self-esteem and confidence over time.

2) They value their own opinion

You have to love people who are never swayed by the crowd.

They possess a deep-seated belief in their own often hard-won perspective, but they aren’t bullheaded or unwilling to consider the viewpoints of others. They just know that their opinion is as valuable as anyone else’s.

Confident people aren’t looking for an argument or an echo chamber. They’re comfortable standing alone if they think it’s the right thing to do.

This self-assuredness helps them avoid the need for approval and validation from others.

3) Conflict doesn’t scare them

Many people find that any kind of conflict is a major source of anxiety.

But for those who don’t crave validation, a difference of opinion isn’t a threat. In fact, they welcome disagreements as a chance to explore new perspectives and increase understanding.

They’re unafraid to voice their own opinions, no matter how unpopular because they understand that conflict can be a learning opportunity if you allow it to be.

4) They enjoy solitude

Another common trait shared among people who don’t seek validation is their love of solitude.

They genuinely enjoy their own company and use their alone time to practice self-reflection or pursue their hobbies and interests.

This comfort with solitude strengthens their self-reliance and lessens the need for approval or validation from others.

Remember: Alone doesn’t necessarily mean lonely.

5) They put their happiness first 

The folks who don’t need approval from others usually highly prioritize their personal happiness.

This is a good thing. 

Confident people make their life decisions based on what brings them happiness or growth.

Their self-focused priorities allow them to live authentically without the need for any sort of outside validation.

6) They have well-defined boundaries 

It’s pretty well-established that boundaries are important to maintain healthy relationships and a well-balanced life.

Those who don’t seek validation are unwavering in their commitment to upholding their boundaries.

Sometimes people will try to equate healthy boundaries with selfishness, but this is not the case. Confident people are in sync with their needs, wants, and abilities, even if they disappoint others.

But a person who doesn’t need external validation knows that you simply can’t please everyone so you may as well go ahead and please yourself.

In case it escaped your notice, these folks who don’t need outside approval are not into people-pleasing.

They get that it’s acceptable to say no and set boundaries without feeling bad about it or needing to validate their actions.

7) They seek personal growth

People who don’t seek validation or approval from others often place a strong focus on their personal growth.

They know they are a work in progress and are always seeking new ways to improve and evolve.

They have zero interest in meeting others’ expectations because they’re too busy becoming the very best version of themselves.

Confident people aren’t afraid to put themselves first. Because if you don’t prioritize your needs, who will?

8) They are brave

Life is unpredictable and often downright frightening. Those who don’t need validation from outside sources get that.

But they also understand that fear is a part of life and not something to be ashamed of.

So, instead of letting their fears drive them or force them to seek the comfort of external validation, they face their demons head-on.

That’s because confident people push themselves out of their comfort zones and embrace the delicious ambiguity of life.

This brand of courage allows them to grow as human beings and live a life independent of other people’s opinions.

Is this easy? No. It takes commitment and practice. Is it worth it? Oh, yes.

9) They welcome feedback 

People who aren’t driven by outside forces will tend to welcome constructive criticism. Instead of feeling threatened, they understand that even negative feedback is a chance to level up and learn. 

They don’t view it as an attack on their self-worth. Their self-worth isn’t derived from outside sources. Confident people view these critiques as a growth opportunity.

This zen-like acceptance of even less-than-positive criticism is precisely what makes them independent thinkers.

10) They are who they are

Nobody’s perfect, this is true, but you are enough just as you are, right now. This is the credo of a person who doesn’t need validation. 

Once you reach this realization, you’ve cracked the code. There’s no greater gift than permitting yourself to be the real you.

Final thoughts

Validation is a heck of a drug. It feels amazing at first while you’re basking in the approval of others, but it’s slowly draining your power. 

If you have the ability to acknowledge external validation as a nice but unnecessary bonus, you’re well on your way to becoming one of those enviable folks who don’t need to poll the room every time you order takeout.

Picture of Kathy Copeland Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden lives in a New England forest paradise with her cats, kid, and trusty laptop. She has been writing since age 8 and is such a pack rat she can back that up with physical evidence. Music is her solace and words are her drug, so her house is strewn with records and books. Watch your step.

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