In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Zeppo," Xander learns what it takes to be cool. It's about knowing inside yourself that you are okay, rather than seeking validation from others. At the beginning of the episode, Cordelia's put-downs bother him. At the end of the episode, they don't bother him. He can see that she is just being petty. He can rise above her insults because he has self-assurance.
Several episodes earlier in "The Wish," Willow shows that same sort of seeking validation from others. Oz has asked for some space in their relationship. She keeps trying to talk to him, trying to make things better. He says, "I told you what I need.
So I can't help feeling like the reason you want to talk is so you can
feel better about yourself. That's not my problem."
That might sound harsh if you're just reading it, but if you see the scene, you can see that he says it kindly, He's right. It's not his job to make Willow feel better.
I've seen in romantic break-ups and other situations of rejections and broken relationships that sometimes people keep going to each other, to try to fix the hurt. But they need to stop looking to each other to fix the hurt. They need to find their own paths.
If someone who has rejected me feels bad about it and tries to heal my hurt over it, he is just stringing me along. If I want to be with him and can't be with him the way I want to, then when he continues to dangle himself in front of me, he's just continuing the hurt. And he's telling me that he does not have faith that I can take care of myself. He should show me respect and kindess, but then he should step away.
When I get that feeling inside of me that I'm seeking someone's approval, that's an alarm bell that tells me that that person erodes my self-confidence, and that I should stay away from that person.
When you see another person seeking that approval, don't tell them they are trying too hard. When you see another person seeking that approval, what you are seeing is a person who is hurting. Be kind to that person.
When I'm hurting that way, it's best for me to look inward, to music, dance, trees, the ocean, and meditation for healing. But if the hurt comes back, I shouldn't beat myself up about it. The hurt will come back as long as people who erode me remain in my life, and as long as people who support me are absent from my life.