That's right. From this day forward, my aim is to never do things in order to look better in the eyes of others. Nor will I look for the approval (reactions) of others to give me a sense of who I am. While analysing (probably over-analysing) my current life situation today, I noticed validation seeking to be one of the main things holding me back from going for what I want and also one of my biggest time-wasters.
Validation does have its place, which I'll cover below, but besides my limited examples I've found it to cause nothing but emotional swings, dependence, and unfulfilment in those who seek it. Right now, I'm either incredibly mind f*ck*d or I'm getting closer to the truth.
What is Validation Seeking?
When I refer to validation seeking, I'm talking about our need to feel like we are doing things right, the need to feel accepted or approved in the eyes of others. When I noticed that myself and others spend a lot of time seeking validation or approval from those around us, there were a few examples that came to mind:
- We update our Facebook status' just to make sure the world knows we went to an awesome party last night or did 'X' that they 'missed out on'
- We cling to a partner that clearly isn't right for us, just so that we can continue to feel wanted
- We judge other people just to feel better about ourselves
- We worry about how we dress and how people will react to that
- We make important life decisions to keep other people happy – for example, arranged marriages and career choices
Maybe some of you can relate to these points, I see myself in all of them and definitely see those around me in some. The problem with validation seeking is that you are constantly looking to others as a source for your good emotions and self-esteem. If someone tells you that you are beautiful or handsome you feel great, but if they say you are hideous then your emotions slide in the opposite direction. Personally, I don't want to be in that position.
This isn't to say that I will never give people compliments or not appreciate receiving them, but mine or anybody else's happiness should not be found in the opinions of others. Our sense of who we are should not change depending on who we are talking to and what they have to say. If you have a strong reality, a strong understanding of who you are, then the need for validation will greatly diminish. I'm noticing that as I live more consciously and more in the moment, validation means less and less to me.
I don't need other people to tell me who I am or how I should feel. I don't need the approval of others to feel good about myself. In order to push this process as far as it can go, I'm pushing this 'seeking' mentality out of my life.
Validation is not Necessary…
…or at least, it isn't most of the time. Let me explain. When we are learning something or growing up, we look for validation in order to see what we are doing right. For example, a child will usually look to their mom to see if they are doing something naughty, sometimes to get a reaction, sometimes just to tell. This is not the type of validation I'm talking of. I guess if I had to give this “approval seeking validation” a name, I would call it Ego Validation.
You can even take a look at a popular figure thats gets Ego validation on a daily basis, Paris Hilton, to see it's not that great. Paris is adored by millions of people throughout the world, she's rich, she can party whenever she wants, go wherever she wants…and has people paying her compliments nonstop. Of course, I'm sure she sees the opposite side of that, the negative commentary, but the Ego Validation is still there.
It must be an amazing feeling to have all these people admire you, right?
If you look closely at the image on the right, you will see that Paris is reading the book, “The Power of Now”. This is a guide on spiritual enlightenment written by one of my favourite authors, Eckhart Tolle, and a book that really helped transform my life. In my opinion, people read books like this to get a better understanding on the world, but also to find ways to access the real happiness that life has to offer.
In some ways, I believe this picture shows that Ego Validation certainly isn't everything. I think it shows that people who may appear to have everything, often don't (as I've covered). No matter who you are, if you are constantly seeing yourself through the eyes of others, you will have emotional swings, you will have tough times. As soon as you start to live more consciously, and become more aware of your emotions and reactions to things, you will probably start to see our need of validation and approval from others as quite foolish.
No More, I'm Done
To some, I'm sure me saying that I no longer feel like I need validation will come across like I'm 'above' others or somehow too good. Trust me, that's really not the case. If anything, this has all stemmed from a past feeling of not being good enough. I actually feel like I'm starting to wake up to the craziness of humanity and if I'm wrong…well…I can always go back to over the top Facebook status updates and stressing about what shirt to wear to a nightclub.
Right now I'm actually feeling quite disconnected from everything. Like all the things that used to bother me don't really matter that much and most are quite irrelevant. I am very comfortable with my current situation, but the feeling I have will take some getting used to.
- If my parents want to judge my decisions, they can
- If my friends want to judge my decisions, they can
- If blog readers want to judge my decisions, they can
- No more Facebook or Twitter updates in order to seem 'cool'
- No more talking or acting like I'm anything more than what I am
- No more doing things to impress others (Expression not Impression)
I've pretty much mastered the art of acceptance, letting go and quite possibly…living in the now. I'll still face challenges on the way, I'll still think of doing things through my Ego and I'm sure there will be times when I let the judgements of others get to me. However, each day I'm becoming more conscious to this and enjoying life more in the process. I'm not going to waste time caring what people think, at least not on an Ego level; life is too short and there are far more important things I want to achieve with my time and energy.
I don't think there's ever been a topic where I would love your thoughts so much, so please do leave a comment and let me know what you think about this. Especially if you can relate to my situation.
P.S. If you are wondering how I can just decide to no longer look for validation from others, that's simple. I'm living in the moment much more these days and enjoying all the benefits that come with it.