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It’s true we should grow in inner confidence – resting in the truth of who God has created us to be without the desperate need to seek the approval of others. But there’s often still a need to have this internal truth validated externally. And it’s all too easy to forget or otherwise minimize what’s true without these external anchors to hold on to.

For example, at the end of The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion received tokens to symbolize that they had already possessed the brains, heart, and courage they desired. While they already had the qualities they sought, this external validation helped to make it real for them, and they were now able to integrate this truth into their lived experiences.

This is often how external validation works for us as well. To be sure, it helps to simply remember what’s true ourselves – that God has given us each our own strength to bring more life and goodness into the world. At the same time, we often need this truth externalized for it to sink in fully internally.

For instance, this might be through words of affirmation. We needed this from our parents growing up, and it’s not a desire we grow out of as adults. These words of love help to validate the truth of our souls. And it’s harder to dismiss this reality when it’s a constant presence in our external world.

And like the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion, it might also be helpful to have some physical token of validation as well. This is the role graduation ceremonies and diplomas serve – external realities to validate the internal educational transformation that has taken place. And whatever it looks like for us, we can also learn to receive these physical tokens – something concrete to hold onto and remind us of what’s true.

In the end, there’s no need to desperately seek the approval of others. But the human soul still craves some form of external validation – someone or something to affirm what’s already internally true.

Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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