Validation. Pronounced as:
It is a noun and the meaning that is most relevant to this conversation is a “recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile.”
Validation: Even The Mighty Wants It
Celebrity-watch is not a pastime of mine but the activities of a few, very few, do occasionally catch my attention. Tyrese Gibson is one. His marriage a few years ago interested me. The reactions to him tying the knot was mixed. His own response his fans‘ reaction, some non-accepting, was telling.
One fan’s comment to him, after his somewhat defensive response to the critique of his new wife, was to tell him to stop “seeking validation of his relationship.”
Who would think that a celebrity, a millionaire or even a President of a country of whatever size would be seeking validation of his or her public? Minions, the ‘power-less’, those who have traditionally been marginalized whether by society or in the privacy of their homes are perhaps in need of it. Not a handsome or a beautiful woman, a nation’s leader, a CEO of a large corporation. Their place in society is enough, no?
What Really Is Validation?
As stated above, in the personal context, validation is needing your worth, your feelings and your opinions to be affirmed and recognized by another.
Do not misunderstand, we all need to feel validated whether that is in our personal or work relationships. It is a fantastic feeling when you complete a project and your boss compliments you.
Simple words such as “Thank you,” can validate you. This is especially true after a trying situation that you helped someone through with your skills. The fact that you now have a well-paying job, a nice house and the car of your dreams might serve as validation for your years of study and sleepless nights.
The recognition and acceptance of another person’s internal experience as being valid.” Dr. Karen Hall
What If You Never Get It Though?
But – what if that “recognition and acceptance” of your internal experience never comes? Do you perpetually go in search of it? Where do you find it?
In his book, Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter describes us in a somewhat demeaning fashion:
The whole world is sick…we’ve all got this pathetic need to be seen. We’re a bunch of fucking toddlers trying to get attention.”
Harsh though it might sound, there is, in fact, a lot of truth to his words. When you consider the impact that social media has had on not only the way we communicate but the multitude of people vying for validation.
“Make this viral,” “the next Youtube celebrity” or “trending” are some of the ways we seek validation these days. The number of likes and hits on our pages are way more important than the content of our hearts.
Twitter has become the tool for international relationships these days, gaining far more importance than good ole’ diplomacy. If those likes, tweets, snaps, etc are not many, a person is likely to lose their raison d’être. Being an overnight sensation is way more important. Even those who did it the long and hard way, like Tyrese, can lose sight of self-validation.
Self-Validation: The Long, Hard But Everlasting Way
So often I speak with women, especially young women and listening to their stories it becomes clear to me that self-validation is still a lesson on their curriculum.
The memory of one particular young woman springs to mind. From maternal abuse and neglect, poverty and jail time, by the time we met a few years ago, she was an up and coming businesswoman. Yet, she still wanted external recognition. Married to a man who adored her no end, she was the mother of a teenager who clearly was copying her successes. Yet, this dear woman was still finding it challenging to release society’s past negativity and degradation of her. She simply could not embrace the validation of her obvious successes.
Caring For And Validating Yourself
This is an enormous topic, one that could be the subject of many posts. Today’s conversation is an invitation to reflect on your personal process of self-validation. It is extremely important that wherever you are and in whatever circumstance you find yourself, that you understand and appreciate it for what it is AND make it “okay” to be there. Only you can do that.
Your loved ones, co-workers, boss, friends can help but only You can care for your soul. This is indeed soul work.
To Thine Own Self Be True
Never shy to confess, I include myself among those who feel some sense of validation in the number of likes, shares, etc that we receive on social media. It is hard not to.
The true test of self-awareness, however, is recognizing what is and then changing what needs changing. My early foray into blogging had much to do with using my mess as the message as it was about how many visitors would come. That has changed and is reflected in how my blogging has developed over the years.
Number count still matters but not the primary focus. As a dear friend used to say, “if you help one, your work is done.”
Daughters of Sheba Foundation of necessity needs the numbers if we are going to be able to support as many vulnerable women and children as possible.
As the Chairperson and being human, there are days when the number bites into me. What do I do when that happens? I turn to my self-validation tools. Journalling, writing posts, standing in front of the mirror and giving myself a pep talk are some of my practices.
What are yours? Do take the poll above and share with all who might be seeking ways to refocus. Also, because numbers do have some value to us, please visit and give us a like and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Peace and love,