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The world will be set free by women who are free. Sisterhood is the key.

Does your lover validate your life?

I hadn’t been single in nearly 20 years, since I was 15. Classic serial monogamist.

After each breakup, my girlfriends offered their two cents: “Maybe you should be single for a while?” Maybe, yes, I thought. But it just never happened that way. I’d soon meet someone and we’d be in-it-to-win-it, in no time.

When I met my ex-husband, I was 25 years old. He was 30, a musician, a kind and loving man. At that time, I was climbing the ladder in the cosmetics industry, fantasizing about traveling the world, and having a career that felt meaningful and inspiring. He had the life I’d dreamed of, and I looked up to him. We fell in love quickly, and every time we were backstage at a show, I was so proud to say, “I’m his wife.”

When we divorced, I felt an ache that a piece of my identity – being his wife – was dying away.

But I quickly fell in love again, this time with a famous entrepreneur. When we met, my business was soaring. I was traveling more and more, and I was excited to do even bigger things in my career and life. He was at the top of his game, truly contributing to the world and living his life at an extraordinary level, and I looked up to him. We, too, fell in love quickly, and at every event we went to, I was so proud to say, “I’m his girlfriend.”

While I fell in love with the men themselves (not who they were in public, but who they were in their hearts), I still felt a sense of validation from being able to say, “I’m with him”.

It was as if the fact that he was talented, brilliant, powerful, and successful meant I was, too. After all, he chose to be with me. Which was saying something, right?

He chose me, and he is important, therefore I feel important.

This cycle of seeking external validation that ran in the background of my consciousness for so many years (decades, even) was never forced to be resolved because I was always in a relationship. Until the day I wasn’t.

The day we broke up will be imprinted in my memory for a long time, I’m sure. I was devastated. I was in love, and the ache of losing that felt too much to bear. While my heartbreak was fueled by my love for his heart, not his celebrity or achievements, there was a small part of me that wondered, “If he doesn’t want me, what does that mean about me? Will anyone care about me if I’m not standing beside him?”

The thought sickened me, and I was finally forced to face the truth: I was allowing my partner’s brilliance to validate my sense of self-worth.

I knew it was time to finally take my girlfriends’ advice and be single for a while, and I did.

I had to learn to choose myself.
To be myself.
To trust myself.
To love myself.

But that process – the one-year journey to discovering deep self-love, not derived from anyone or anything – was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.  There were many desperate moments, dark nights of the soul, and oceans of tears.  And I didn’t do it alone.

It was hard to do, but I forced myself to lean on girlfriends, even when I was afraid they would reject me or get tired of hearing the same stories over and over, and even when I was embarrassed that I hadn’t figure it all out yet. They midwifed me home to myself many times.  Leaning on them saved me.

Sisterhood taught me that I am worthy of love, not because I am with him, not because someone else thought I was special, but simply because I exist.

For once, I felt like enough, because I was enough for myself.
No validation needed. No qualifier. No explanation.

When we see ourselves for the goodness that we are, it is a gift to the world.  It opens us up for deeper and more connected relationships, a more solid sense of purpose, greater levels of success, and more meaningful and aligned contribution.

So, does your lover (or kids, career, wardrobe, or appearance) validate your life?

Find the courage to lean on your sisters and ask for their honest and loving reflection. What do they love about you?  Melt into their embrace, and absorb their strength and love until it radiates from within.

And when you don’t want to go to them, afraid that you’ll be too much trouble, or take up too much space, seek them out anyway. Because a free world is one where women are able to receive all the support they need, so they can find the energy to be of even greater service. Let sisterhood be your salve.

Come home to your own innate magnificence.  The world is waiting for you. {tweet it}

 

 

—> In the comments below, share how you get your validation “hit” and what you’re committed to healing so you can come home.

 

IN FREEDOM AND SISTERHOOD,

Nisha signature white small

53 Comments

  1. Wonderful post, Nisha. Thank you so much for sharing your vulnerability. It resonates with me and inspires me. Thank you!

    • Thank you, Maura. So grateful to have you here, sister. xo

  2. Whenever I visit my home in the Caribbean I am reminded how important I am to myself and for my family. I’m now committing to only listening to kind words and not the ones of jealousy every time I retreat to my homeland.
    My inner spirit, my angels and people who check in remind me of great presence in their lives. I don’t run from it anymore, I stand and wade in it and, allow it to create something beautiful for others.

    I thank you Nisha, friends and the universe

    Best
    Ginger

    • This is so beautifully stated, Ginger. Celebrating this amazing love you shine for yourself, sister. Thank you for sharing yourself with us in this way. xo

  3. Nisha, why are you in my head? My best friend who happens to be a male, just recently married a woman and before he married her, he confessed, he had deep feelings for me. I was so hurt because he waited to express his true feelings on the heels of marrying a woman he was not in love with. His admission of feelings let me feeling as if he chose her because she was socially more acceptable and that left me feeling unfairly judged and rejected. Thanks for singing to the choir.

    • Only here to remind you of a truth you already know deeply within yourself, Mike : ) Holding the vision of the love you desire coming your way soon. Stay open. xo

      • Thank you again. By the way, I have been meaning to tell you, your new site is beautiful and all of your pictures are gorgeous. The women commenting have fabulous pictures also.

  4. Nisha: this is the most amazing, raw and real post. I acknowledge you for speaking your truth and having the courage to write about something a lot of us struggle with. Thank you for this moving post. Chana

    • Thank you, Chana. I am so happy to hear how this post has resonated with you. Truly, we are all in this journey together. Sending you much love. xo

  5. My dear sister, I got tears in my eyes reading this post. I derived my validation by having a relationship, wanting a relationship. I thought if only I had one it would tell the world I was worthy, I was beautiful, someone wanted me. I have been single for awhile, too, using this time to redesign my life…career, friendships, and getting to know myself better and healing myself from low self esteem and unworthiness. Learning to love myself, first, because in truth, I had thought if someone loves me, then it’s ok to love myself. I have had to let go of some friendships, but, by doing so I am feeling blessed and open to building a new sisterhood. Thank you for being one of my sisters, and lovingly setting me on this path. Much love, my sister!!

    • Regina…..I can definitely relate to you. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Regina love, this is so beautiful and a time that will radically shift your life. So happy to have you here, in our sisterhood. You are a gift to this world. xo

  6. I got chills reading this! Have fun in Sonoma!

    • Feeling your love. Thank you, Maria. Thinking of you in Sonoma 🙂

  7. reading your words at the exact moment as I’m sitting alone wondering who needs me out there now cause I can’t find it inside….. bringing tears to my eyes…. my sisters are mostly a half a world away…. I am grateful for whatever love and support I have been getting close but I’m not done yet and still need more than I have available to me….

    So for now I’m just breathing, and making space for feeling all that I do.

    ☯❥

    • Lean on us here Shira, we are supporting you and loving you through this, and we know how strong and resilient you are. I so appreciate you sharing your open heart with me, with us here…and please know that you have a sisterhood in our community, today and always…lean in to your heart and let her guide you, you are coming home to yourself sister xo

  8. Nisha, It has felt great to be by your side over the years as part of your transition. I look forward to where you go next, as yourself, the woman we all love.
    – T

    • So honored to be witnessed by you love, thank you for your amazing heart and loving support, always xo Nisha

  9. This is a seriously beautiful and courageous post.

    • Thank you Amber, grateful for your sweet words…loving you sister xo

  10. Nisha,
    This is so similar to what I’ve been going through lately. What does it mean to be a thriving entrepreneur, when my partner isn’t? Trying to find my worth through any adoration was something I was addicted to. While I’m still healing from it, I have more to offer the world than just being someone’s “trophy”. Thanks for the honesty. I’m with you, sister. You are enough.

    • Loving you Erika, we are all enough no matter what role we may be in…what a gift it is to embrace this together, thank you for sharing sister xo

  11. I came of age at a time (in the 1970’s) when feminism was born and the movement permeated every aspect of our culture, and of my upbringing. Though I was proud to call myself “feminist” (I couldn’t imagine NOT being one!), some part of “self-validation” passed me by. I, too, found myself to always be in a relationship, with scarcely a year in between. Finally, after a few less-than-bright choices, I have embraced my new status: single woman. I’m not knocking relationships, but I have found great strength in defining myself on my own terms. Thank you, sister, for your great words of wisdom!

    • Thank you Elizabeth for being an empowered and loving woman in the world we live in today, exactly as you are, We so need you here, xo

  12. What a brave and insightful article Nisha. You are very inspiring.

    I love how at the end you remind us not to fear asking for help because, also, when we ask for help, we give our sister(s) the opportunity to “be of help”, which is huge.

    There are two sides of help, asking and giving…

    Re: What you asked: I used to derive validation from being a “training manager” in the corporate world… Before that from being in a relationship, before that, from being a US citizen… They have rotated… I find it is a daily practice to remember that I am enough, that things are as they should. That it is OK to be myself. And then go and shine… just like you do with this article.

    • Claudia love, thank you so much for sharing this. Oh, the validation dragon can be a many-headed beast. Or perhaps many little girls within 🙂 Love to you, sister. xo

  13. Nisha- you are so brave and vulnerable. I am super proud of you. I believe more women than not will relate to this. and yes, I have IN THE PAST lived it. Perfect timing! xo

    • Thank you so much, Lynne. It is a gift to be able to share in this way with you. I so appreciate you, and thanks for being here! xo

  14. I must be a serious fangirl because I actually recognise his hand. Great post and keep up your wonderful work!

    • That is too sweet Camila, love! 🙂 And thank you, sister. xo

  15. I agree with this, and I think its a paradox. My boyfriend validates my life SO MUCH, and its through his support that I’m building my business and discovering my message. But I’m not under the illusion that HE’s the source. I believe that I attracted him into my life; he is reflecting back the brilliance that is in me (and I do this for him!). And its through our relationship that I’m able to teach about relationships. So while I’m depending on him, I trust that if he wasn’t there, I would attract someone or something else that reflects my brilliance and my truth. I’m at the source of this, and at the same time, others reflect back to us who we are.

    • So beautifully stated, Valerie. I agree with you. This was really about all the ways that I approved of myself BECAUSE of our relationship. And yes, interdependence for the win! xo

  16. I like the spirit of this, but I feel some could take this as replacing one source of validation with another, i.e. trading man-validates-me to friends-validate-me, neither one of which are healthy.

    It’s a fine line when you’re feeling broken–trying to find strength in your friends versus finding friends who validate that part of you that a man used to.

    It’s hard to articulate, but an important articulation to make!

    Anyhoo–the most profound source of validation is in loving yourself wholly–making yourself whole–and can be achieved through meditation, journaling, spiritual practices, movement, or just being present to our experience in the world. Isn’t that an even greater freedom?

    • Thank you so much for your share, Leah. I agree with you – we can get into seeking validation from anyone, friends included, of course. In my case, I shared with my friends about the deep insecurity I was facing, and the struggle to really *see* myself. It was having them lovingly guide and encourage me back home to myself, which was where I found my own self-love. So yes, sisterhood done a certain way – reflecting things back to us so we can see for ourselves. And, oh, did my girlfriends challenge me! Thanks for being here, Leah 🙂 xo

  17. Wow Nisha thank you for your honesty (as usual!) and this article!
    It reminds me to appreciate my relationship and perhaps my LACK of ability of finding guys to be with.
    I think what you describe is what most of us look for, except one problem – I was never able to find it. And I thought it was because I wasn’t pretty enough, and I moved to another country and I did happen to be pretty enough there, but even there as a college student there was an obsession with FWB/no strings attached, and I could never be in a relationship even if I tried.
    And while you had relationships and I didn’t, we were looking for the same thing – that validation. And not through the celebrity like you’re saying, from the “personality.” I always said, when I figured it out a bit more, dating someone for their personality is just as shallow as dating someone for their looks. What I didn’t realize was that we were all using relationships for the wrong purposes, we were using it as a trade kind of you give me the validation, I’ll cook you meals and be your bacon-winner-housewife-but-keep-my-income-lower-than-yours and all that approval seeking stuff.
    When I changed, wow what a paradigm shift! I was dating men because I wanted to experience ME, not because I wanted to be with someone. And to this day I don’t use my fiance’ for validation. Sometimes I’m not so stable and burrow into the comfort of knowing someone is there for me, but I’ve never felt “wow, I’m so proud to be HIS girlfriend, look at all y’allses boyfriends can you measure up to him?” What I do think sometimes is I really love who I am when I’m with someone who adores me as much as he does, and when I’m really glowing, I’m just like I love myself and I love the way that I am when I receive adoration and put myself first enough to meet my own needs, and I’m not focused on who is meeting them, just that I am.
    Total empowerment, and even though meeting my own needs sounds selfish, it’s the other way around. Because meeting the needs of others so you can get validation, is selfish!
    Last night, I just read in my journal two years ago (when I just started dating my fiance) about the paradox of being not responsible for another person’s well being, and in my opinion it’s a “woman’s paradox.”
    Thanks for sharing Nisha and letting me share with you too!
    xx
    Catt

    • You are one beautiful being, Catt. So thankful for your open heart and share. Honored to have you here, sister. xo

  18. Wow timing Nisha. I was just having a massive cry about this last night.
    I recognised a couple of months ago that I absolutely use relationships to feel validated. I thought that through all my personal development I’ve done in the past 18 months I’d have let go of most of this, but after my latest relationship ended badly (with full force of rejection possible) I can see it still as strong as ever.
    This pattern has lead me to stay in relationships in the past that I should have left – but realised I could never break up with someone because I needed the validation that badly.
    I am going through a deep healing process right now that is pretty tough and painful. I feel like I could do it and get through it if only I had a partner – without one what’s even the point? who do I think I am? I can see it so so clearly, I’m just craving validation!! But also determined to face my seeming self rejection and loathing.
    Thanks Nisha xx

  19. I love this. I realized the exact same thing about my last breakup. He was well known in the city, as well as his crew (my best friends as well) – for their work in the local food movement + in the conscious community. Girls adored them. I loved being able to say – I’m his girlfriend, I’m their best friend and roomie. But when we broke up, and I moved away from my boo as well as my crew… I no longer had that. No body knew who I was. No body cared who I dated or was friends with in YYC.

    That was rad. As I get to build a life that’s me now, and not for someone else.

    • You are so building a beautiful life for yourself Beth. I love your courage and clarity sister xo

  20. This is such an insightful article, that has made me look more deeply into my own situation. Thank you for sharing so honestly and openly. x

    • It is so good to have you here Debbie, and an honor to share myself in this way with you. Love that you are in our community xo

  21. Hi Nisha…I happened upon your site by chance. I watched your video and read this post. I’m a fifty year-old divorced man and this post resonates with me. So I just wanted to say thank you and that I am very impressed by your message and your work. I believe the world can be saved by the Western woman! All the best! (PS – my first blog comment. Ever. )

    • Leo, I so love that you are here with us. And Thank you for sharing you and your words with us, they mean a lot to me. And I hope that although this may be your first blog comment, that it will not be your last. We need brothers like you supporting us and reminding us what you just expressed from your heart. It is an honor to welcome you here. Please continue to stay connected xo

    • Thank you so much Naomi, loving you sister xo

  22. This message came at a perfect time for me also. After 9+ years in a relationship it is on it’s way out. I know that there is more to me than the relationship but it is still hard. Just thinking of what comes next it is so natural to think what comes next for us. I now know it is not us it is just me. It feels like there was a death and I know I must grieve that loss but I want to be able to move forward quickly. Life is too short to worry about what could have been instead of creating what will be next. I have great friends and family to support me but I too find that being able to speak openly about the situation feels like I am wearing on those who support me. So thank you for reminding me that they are there as I would be for them if they needed me.
    I appreciate that your post is so open, you are a shining example of what can be.
    honestly yours, L

    • Thank you so much for sharing Linda, and what a gorgeous new path is opening for you and before you, I can just feel it. Wishing you a journey of joy, love, expansion and support. There is a precious life wanting to give more of what your heart is calling in to you…We are here for you too sister xo

  23. Nisha, thank you so much for this post! Several months ago I have decided to stop my marriage that enchained me for almost 20 years. I felt guilty and judged by many people… Some of them rejected me… But I persist in my decision as I really want to retrieve my identity hidden so far behind the man’s “brilliance”, as you write. I need to find my own path now and words like this make me stronger 🙂 I start my own coaching business and would like to work with women who search for courage to be themselves, as I was searching that for many years. Your post shows me that I can be honest as well while talking about my journey to recover…

  24. I had a similar dark night of the soul about 4 years ago, and I too wondered, if he doesn’t want me, who will? But I have to say, leaning on girlfriends didn’t get me very far. Amazingly, and as expected, life introduced me to Ho’oponopono, and through that practice, I learned that everything in my life was/is a mirror. That through remorse, forgiveness, gratitude and love, the darkest emotions, sins and circumstances can be healed instantly. During these dark times we must ask ourselves, what is this negative emotion showing me? Where am failing to love myself? The answers to those questions are where real and lasting healing and regrowth are.

  25. Amen sister. We can better love each other, when we first love ourself. Such a beautiful post!

  26. Nisha love, this is so beautiful! You are a queen. We won’t ever let you forget.

  27. You’ve written about something that I have dared to even think about. Now I’ve got things to consider too. Thank you.
    Kim

    • Thank you for sharing, Kim. Blessings to you as you explore.

      With love,
      Nisha

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