We often spend too much of our time and energy seeking the validation of others. In fact, seeking validation isn’t just some curious human tendency; it becomes an addiction, one that can become a severe psychological problem. I’ve seen writers refer to the quest of validation like honeybees buzzing about in search of nectar.
Human beings have a particular obsession with preening and posing to appease and perhaps even impress their peers. Validation is addictive as a drug, as we constantly seek to feed our egos with the approval of others. We crave the validation of our friends, family, and even strangers, often at the expense of our own sense of self-worth. Trying to understand the needs and desires of others is important in society, but it’s also a slippery slope.
Perhaps nowhere are the follies of this quest for validation more obvious than in junior high and high school, where many teenagers attempt to change their entire image and entire personality to fit in with the popular crowd. This quest continues into adulthood, dressing and accessorizing to impress their colleagues. No one is entirely immune to the siren call of validation, and in fact, by becoming a non-conformist, as I was, by defying it you are still admitting that this call is there.
So, what is it about the approval of others that is so irresistible? Is it the sense of belonging that comes with being part of a group? That’s indeed part of it, but what drives us to seek validation with the same thirst as drinking water is fear of rejection. Sadly, it seems that we have been conditioned to believe that our worth as human beings is tied to the opinions of others.
As social creatures, this is naturally understandable, but also often self-defeating. Whatever the individual’s reason, the pursuit of validation can be a dangerous game. It can lead us down a path of self-doubt and insecurity, as we constantly compare ourselves to others and measure our worth by their standards. It can also prevent us from taking risks and following our own dreams, as we fear the disapproval of those around us.
How often do we actually look within ourselves and ask, what’s next? What’s the next challenge I must overcome? For many of us, I believe what most of us struggle with most is validation of the self. This is the realization of the more obscure aspects of our personalities, the rough edges where we find the most room to grow and improve as a human being.
For years, I’ve urged my peers to break free from the chains of validation, and I make this same plea to you as my readers. Embrace your individuality and celebrate your unique gifts and talents. Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd. Embark on a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. Only by embracing our true selves that we find true happiness and fulfillment, even when it seems like the rejection isn’t worth doing so.
Let’s revel in our uniqueness and celebrate the diversity that makes us human. Remember that our worth as human beings is not determined by the approval of others, but by the love and respect we have for ourselves. Rather than conform to specified norms, we should spending our resources on finding validation within ourselves.