IS SEEKING VALIDATION SUCH A BAD THING?
I bet when you saw the title, you vehemently said “Yes! it is” and that’s ok, you aren’t wrong or maybe just a little? Let’s find out, shall we? Can you recall how many times you have posted something about yourself on social media and you have people comment and gas you up and then you feel this sense of fulfillment & motivation to do more of that thing? Or that time you over-committed to a thing just because you didn’t want to say no for fear of being disapproved? Or how it felt to be praised and acknowledged for that job you did at the office. That feeling you got from those individuals affirming you, is what we call “validation”
As humans we have this desire to be validated, to be liked and be accepted by others – don’t shake your head, it is not necessarily a bad thing – we are social beings so we need that assertion, by those we hold in esteem that helps us feel good about ourselves. The lack of this can venture a person into thrones of depression and a feeling of unworthiness.
We may choose to lie to ourselves and say this is not so; but the truth still remains that we all need to be validated sometimes. When we do not feel good about ourselves, when our confidence in ourselves wanes and self-doubt sets in, we need people around us to remind us of who we are, who validate us, make us feel valued, supported and believe in our decisions, strengths and capabilities. People that share ideologies and values likened to ours; those with skin to our game.
It is very easy to say “don’t seek validation from others” forgetting that humans thrive on communal living and we need that sense of belonging to feel good ourselves. Our most common giving is to cloak our emotions and act like we do not care when in fact we care oh so too deeply.
Although we fail to realize that in an all too encompassing way, when we do this our need of validation blazes deep within us but we prefer to hide and evade and even go as far as manipulating our way just to prove that we didn’t need a thing that we indeed want – it is like a reserve psychology of seeking a thing but pretending not to so that we can actually get it.
You can argue that “oh but a person can be self-validating and not need anyone else” but this in itself is not also healthy and can be inhibiting, for you would become closed off to the opinion, perspectives and insights of others. We were never created to exist in isolation, for as I said; we are social creatures and only the strong can admit that they feel weakness.
So, maybe it is ok in fact to sometimes seek to be validated by those we care about as they do us. For it is indeed a beautiful thing to be validated and wanting it doesn’t mean you are of a low esteem. It is a natural thing that helps build back confidence when you doubt yourself and think you are undeserving. They remind you that you are. In relationships your partner validating their love for you and communicating their acceptance of you shows how they care and accept you for who you are, thereby, strengthening your bond for each other.
Of course, that is not to say there aren’t negatives to seeking validation. I think the key thing just like every other thing in the world is to strike a balance between being self-validating and also being open enough to let others validate you. Know yourself and have your own identity and focus on the approval of your own persons. One key reason people have thrown validation into the trenches as abhorrent is the fact that people put too much time and energy into impressing people – especially on social media – that they’ll probably never meet and who can do nothing for them or have any visible impact in their lives.
Seeking shouldn’t constantly be done for when we do so, it becomes a need and we lose ourselves trying to please others; depleting the level of our self-esteem. So rather than seek to be validated by anyone and everyone, have instead your own people; a selected few who are true to you, it sets you up for a feedback loop that in turn spurs you into growth.
But when you seek it, seek from the right persons that give back a reflection of just how amazing you can be especially when you cannot see it. But let it not define you, do not let it be your sole identity.