I remember being a child and seeking my parents’ attention. I was craving it, the way all kids do, I suppose. I would do anything for them to notice me. I wanted them to love me and like me. I wanted their praise. They always gave me attention and love; I will never complain about that, they are awesome!! Wait a minute! The fact that I wanted them to notice me…Is that why I am still loud today? Did I become loud so they can notice me, so they can hear me? Naaaahhhh!!!I would argue my Greek blood made me loud. I would also argue some other reasons made me loud, reasons I will not be sharing here, you know…for confidentiality reasons.
Is it love and admiration we seek or validation? I believe it’s imprinted in our DNA to seek love and admiration from people, especially from our parents. That need will never go away. I guess that is how the child-parent relationship works, to a certain extent because that relationship is far more complex and complicated. I still lose it when my parents tell me I did something noble. There is no greater feeling!
Then, there is society’s validation. Some of us seek society’s love and admiration, others seek validation at all costs. So, what is the difference? Well, validation, is, as defined by Webster’s dictionary “to recognize, establish, or illustrate the worthiness or legitimacy of something or someone”. One could argue love and admiration are hidden subcategories of validation and they could be right. I don’t believe validation exists without love and admiration, to lesser degrees of course.
Validation can be quite elusive, nearly impossible to grasp. Yet, validation seems to be the crucial wood we use to feed our ego’s fire. Human nature is and always will be fascinating. I am a writer, and by every metric defining artists and their ego, I should crave people’s validation. I should be chasing people’s validations of my texts, my ideas. I should be seeking their admiration and love. I should be after compliments. Yet, not to brag, I am not, weirdly enough or is it?
I have sought validation when I was younger, and it didn’t end well. My heavily 20-year old insecure self sought validation from almost everyone: my parents, my brother, my girlfriends, other women, my friends, my bosses, etc. How did I not die of exhaustion before I was 22? All this validation seeking behavior was fucking exhausting. It is mathematically impossible to have everyone’s validation. That is a fact. I found that out the hard way; I found myself not being myself. I almost became an actor, or worse, an impostor. I was betraying my very self, my values and thoughts so I could get an accolade, a compliment, some scattered applause.
Then it hit me. Validation didn’t matter, it never did. I know it is easy to say that now because I am closer to 40 than 30 years of age. I know who I am now and it’s absurdly easy to see the errors of my past. It’s been more than a decade that I gave up on validation. I was in my early 20’s, it was at a time when I was still trying to figure myself out, who I was and where I stood in this world. It’s a stressful time for any individual. At that age, we think validation is crucial, yet, as we come to find out, respect is way more valuable than validation. True love and care are more valuable than validation in the end.
I will go as far as say that validation isn’t necessary. Moreover, seeking validation is a tremendous source of unhappiness in many of us. It comes at a heavy price, a price that no one should ever be willing to pay. Imagine trying to capture people’s admiration, love and validation. It weighs immensely on the soul and the body. Validation isn’t necessary. It never was. If you do the right thing, if you are decent, kind and caring, you will get people’s respect and when you do, that’s when you’ll realize validation is futile, unimportant, useless.
Some of you might have realized by now that I don’t seek validation through my writings. I never have and I never will. Sharing my thoughts is a selfish exercise, not a “people pleasing” exercise. I am not here to be anyone’s monkey and dance. This isn’t arrogance speaking (well, a little bit) but rather truth. I believe everyone should be themselves, no matter who they are. The idea is to validate yourself without being obtuse! Now, that is an interesting balance, because too much self validation leads to arrogance and blindness. Self validation isn’t synonymous with shutting other people’s opinions out necessarily.
I listen to everybody when they come to me with suggestions, criticism or advice. I know I can always learn something, I can always figure something out, or realize I was wrong. My ideas aren’t law, they are opinions and the latter can be wrong. Few ideas are absolute. Certain people have told me they don’t like my cursing. I listened to them and I told them to fuck off, gently, calmly and politely of course! Others don’t like when I talk about God and they got the same treatment. I was told I was incredibly wrong when I said black people can be racist, I got a lot of heat from black people of course. Guess what I told them? You guessed right! Certain topics are dear to my heart and I will not change how I think for other people’s validation, the same way people won’t change how they feel about God because I wrote something they didn’t like. I can be called “obtuse”, which is quite fine. Seeking validation isn’t in my repertoire for the past 15 years I would say.
Validate yourself but do not be obtuse. Do what you feel is right in your opinion. Do not follow other people’s paths, create your own path and then proceed to walk that path!
Let’s be honest, let’s be real; recognition, appreciation, applause, love, they all feel greatly awesome and awesomely great, when offered genuinely. But if they come with strings attached, then I don’t need them. My arrogance instructs me to not sell my integrity and my values for validation, love, applause, recognition and appreciation.
Here I am. I am not seeking validation. I am sharing my thoughts and opinions. I will always listen to others, because I believe in improving, I believe in learning, I believe in changing my mind once convinced I was on the wrong path. I am human after all. Yet, I will not seek validation of others. I will do what I do best: I will tell my stories to whoever is willing to read them. Those who don’t agree with what I write can always text me or call me and we can discuss whatever topic they wish. But if they are really offended with what I write, they can always unfollow me or stop reading my texts. It’s fine. No one is obligated to read my texts or agree with me! We all got free will.
Seeking validation is an unnecessary behavior, a burden of the past, one that almost killed my spirit. I have validated myself since and I have never been happier. Validate yourself through your noble actions and because those actions mean something to you, not because of some reward. Be true to yourself. It is quite easy.
Just one man’s opinion
Now smile and go on with your day.