We ALL need validation. I need it and you need it.
For instance, I know that I am a confident woman that can set my mind to anything and achieve, but that knowledge and that feeling of capability is internal. Without external validation there’s no feedback, and everything I do exists in a vacuum.
Knowing what I am capable of and the result of a finished project provides a certain degree of satisfaction and fulfilment based on whatever the project means to ME., but with external validation there is a different experience of satisfaction and fulfilment based on what it means to someone else, and that’s where the difference is.
The problem comes, of course, when you start seeking out that external validation as the only means of feeling good about yourself. Start people pleasing and doing things with the agenda of attracting validation and you’ll end up chasing things based on what they mean to other people and not what they mean to you.
That’s a slippery slope and going there will only damage your self-confidence and self-esteem (i.e. that’s bad).
So the difference is one of focus. Rather than looking for external validation and aligning your behaviour to deliver that, you need to align your behavior so that it leads to great work, then look at and acknowledge what you did to deliver that great work.