When you don't seek validation

posted by Jeff | Monday, March 4, 2019, 9:32 PM | comments: 0

I had an exceptional day, when I was able to observe some positive outcomes of some decisions I made. Then another person further validated those outcomes. I'm so not used to getting that kind of validation that it routinely surprises me. I'll unpack this in a moment, but I generally don't seek validation. I think people generally reach a point in their life where they just don't bother with looking for it if the absence of it causes you to question your value in the world. It's vaguely related to that thing where you stop caring about what others think of you.

Getting validation feels good though. That's reason enough to make sure you give it liberally to others. If you do seek it, I think you have to be careful about where you expect to get it from. There's so much about the world that you can't control, so whether or not you can get any meaningful validation from people, institutions, relationships, work... I'm not so sure you want to be fishing there.

I think the reason I don't seek validation is that there simply haven't been many times in my life where I've received it. I mean, this is total therapist material, but going back as far as I can remember, from childhood to college to adulthood, it just wasn't there. I'm sure my inner survivalist at some point decided that if I was going to derive some self-worth out of anything, it would be out of working toward outcomes that I wanted. Let the outcome be the validation. It sounds lonely when I put it that way, but it's probably not wrong.

Looking for validation isn't a terrible thing. I think it's one of the many things that make human connection different from the way animals interact. I imagine that it's appropriate to ask people for validation, to set that expectation that you need it from time to time. Without that, it's like that dysfunctional thing in relationships where people measure love by how much others do stuff for them.

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