I am still constantly blown away by how strong our need for validation is, and how powerfully it affects us.
Little kids come to us saying “look! Look at what I did!” What they’re really saying is “validate me!”
It seems that there is a certain “amount” of validation one should ideally receive. To feel comfortable in one’s existence. To stop feeling like you have to try so hard to prove that you deserve to take up space in this world.
I say that because until very recently, I used to task my creations with the mission to earn validation. I would make music, write a blog post, film a YouTube episode to say “look at me! Look at what I’ve done!”
There is nothing wrong with that, except that the joy of creating and sharing got tainted. No amount of praise, appreciation can satiate this overwhelming need for validation. That sort of validation only comes from true, deep emotional connection. It’s never going to come from casual social media interactions.
For whatever reasons I don’t wholly understand, I didn’t get enough earlier in life. Which left a lot of grief. And I was trying to fill the hole without understanding that I needed to grieve first. Once I realized this, I started sobbing and weeping by focusing on the heartbreaks I’ve felt. I was so disappointed that there wasn’t anyone there when I had something to share. I also grieved because I realized that I was never going to get that validation from anyone else but myself.
It’s because whatever you should’ve received from your family of origin, you are the only person who can give it to you once you are a grown-up. It’s not your fault what happened. But what you do about it is your responsibility.
Eventually I got over the grief. And now on the other side, I feel lighter. I now share simply because I enjoy sharing. It doesn’t break my heart if I am not validated, because it’s no longer my goal for these activities. I share because I enjoy doing it. And it’s become more so, now that I no longer have a hidden agenda.