Hardwired For Validation & Acceptance?
I don't know whether I'm early, or late in life, in addressing this extremely sensitive topic. It is sensitive because it is personal, and I guess it might be personal for almost everyone.
I write this on an auspicious day, my birthday, and it is no mistake that I have done this. It just drives home what I will be highlighting here....that most of us were raised in a society where we don't feel as though we matter until we are validated & accepted, somehow. It was trained into us. Imagine if you will, being raised to believe that hiding was the only way to survive & endure, and that to be seen at all, or to stand out, was dangerous. Do you think birthdays would be celebrated? Would looks matter? Would achievement matter? I know, it sounds rather silly, but I'm making a point. We are all products of our environment. But we are also, very importantly, the only species (that we know of) with the ability to reason. So I'm asking you to sit back and ponder the path I'm leading you down for the next 10 or so minutes :-)
As children, we are nurtured, usually, and taught that we are very important. Or not. Either way, we are conditioned by excessive validation or conversely, lack of validation, to seek approval so that we know we are 'ok'. Like animals, we salivate for attention, acceptance. Mostly unintentionally though, because it can be hard for a 15 year old (and yes, even a 40 year old) to reflect on his/her own behavior and ask the obvious question, "Am I an attention hound, and did I do that thing I just did in order to be validated or accepted?"
So where do we draw the line, and is there even a line? I happen to think that it would be much healthier for parents and society to condition children to respect themselves, and to understand that while it is natural to want to fit in and feel 'normal', it should not be a priority. I believe that the best thing we could do for our children is to lead by examples of respectful behavior, wise decision making after careful reflection, empathy, compassion, authenticity, gratitude and generosity. Can you just imagine this world if all children were raised to give something to society on their birthdays rather than needing to be showered with gifts and attention on that day? Which leads me into my next thoughts....
Of course everyone has an inherent need to feel as though we matter. No one wants to be told that they are insignificant and average, that their existence means nothing. No one strives to be forgotten. To be told we are worthless, as children, does just as much damage as being coddled and spoiled. The outcome is often the same, attention-seeking. This is a very thin tightrope we walk!
But now that we are adults.....and I'm assuming adults are reading this......how do we solve the knee-jerk reaction we have that kicks in when we feel we have not been recognized or validated in some way? When our sense of entitlement gets out there ahead of everything, and our either neglected OR coddled inner child rears its ugly head? It can be heartbreaking to be dismissed, to be forgotten, to be told we are not good enough, especially when we've given something our very best effort in every way. It is like being shot down and mortally wounded. We may never recover. But let's stop for a moment...
Let me bring you into a new awareness that will help you never need to go back to that icky place of dejection and powerlessness again. I'd like for you to stop and ponder this question: Will having the validation and approval of some other person, institution, society, etc actually make you a better human being? And just who are they in the grand scheme of your soul's destiny? So, if that cute person across the room asks you for a date, will you really feel better about yourself, more worthy, more empowered? Before you give that impulsive 'yes', think again. Go look in that mirror and tell me if you like yourself any better now that you have the hot man, the big corner office, that coveted award, or folks swooning over your new car? Are you, as a person, changed, somehow by approval from other human beings? No. Don't kid yourself. You still have all of your neuroses, and they will show up again when you least expect it and take your life down in a single heartbeat.
What about the love and approval from those in our lives who are closest to us? Is it ok to need their approval and validation? In healthy doses, yes. It is good to hear that our partner finds us desirable and special; it helps keep the bond of love strong. I would say that there is a huge difference between needing to be constantly built up and fussed over, and simply desiring a bit of affection and warmth from our loved ones each day.
But my complete point is this:
Each of us was deliberately and uniquely created in soul form by a sacred, superior energy-based creator. I have been known to say to people from time to time, 'God does not make mistakes. Therefore, you exist because you have purpose and destiny. You need no validation, no acceptance, no approval from others. Those things are already yours. Humbly bow to yourself.'
What am I saying to you? You are a blessing to yourself, and you are actually meant to take your beautiful blessed self out into this world and simply love it! Add to it, show compassion, teach tolerance, grow things, build networks, lead by example, share experiences, discover and teach. Honestly, you need the approval of no one, mainly if you are doing this thing called 'living' the right way. If others don't find you acceptable, someone else will, move on. Practice neutrality, and stop being that 5 year old that needs to be seen, heard and validated. The Divine has done all of this for you already, by giving you life. It is what you do with the blessing of your life that really matters. Stop needing to suck life dry, and instead, try watering those dry spots that need it. As you live from your heart, and give from your heart, you will live in a joyful state that will always bring plenty of love back to you through the miracle of rejuvenation. Stay close to the creator whose ocean you swim in eternally.
So yes, you've been hardwired for validation, but you can unlearn it by loving yourself as you would your own child. The only thing that will stop the endless chasing of approval is for you to truly awaken to the fact that we are all already validated through the blessing life and being aware that we are alive.
Don't waste another moment looking around for what is already inside of you. The pot of gold is not at the end of some far off rainbow. The pot of gold is YOU.
Much Love and Abundant Blessings to YOU on my birthday. I feel blessed to be alive!
This is one of the most important articles I’ve seen all year. Thx.
Paula…just, wow. I needed to read this today! I am attempting to get over a slight that I experienced last week and this hit home. Who cares if they overlooked me? Now I know it doesn’t really matter. I am meant for something better, and now I understand why I need to move on. Bless you, thank you! Keep up the amazing enlightening writing!