An amazing thing happens when you stop seeking approval and validation: You find it.
-Mandy Hale

How necessary is it to for us to have validation?

I have been asking myself this for the last few months. As an aspiring writer, there are times when, perhaps necessarily, seek validations from writers who I respect. Every time I come out with new story or poem, my mind always wonders “What will so-and-so think?”

And unfortunately, that’s became pretty problematic for me. Even if anything I write is well received by most people or gets published, if a particular group of people don’t comment on it or display nonchalance, I start to feel down.  I start bombarding myself with questions of self-doubt.

All I’m doing is looking to boost my own vanity or ego and that’s dangerous path to be on. In primitive stages, it’s fine. As human beings, we’re biologically wired to have a desire for inclusion and acceptance. It’s perfectly normal to want praise and compliments for things we do.

But there has to be a limit. And unfortunately, in this day and age of social media, there isn’t one. You start out with being happy if one person reads something you wrote and end up at a stage at which if 4,500 read your content, you’re disappointed that the number wasn’t 5,000.

And that’s when you start to self-destruct emotionally and mentally. There is nothing wrong in wanting to be recognized but there has to be some limit. And it has to stay consistent. Because what goes up has to come down at some point.

With that in mind, I’m trying an experiment with myself. With whatever I post, be it an article on this site, a poem or a short story, I’m going to be thankful if just one person reads it. It won’t be easy but I’ll try my best to ignore the number or lack of “likes” across all my social media accounts.

And I encourage everyone to try the same. Post something on social media and do your best to have a zen-like approach of nonchalance over it. If enough people see it or acknowledge it, great. If not, can you push it out of your mind? I’ll be the first person to admit that as an independent writer nowhere near the level of Jodi Picoult or Stephen King, it’s an arduous goal to complete. Still, I’m going to try.

The above paragraphs focus more on social media than any other platforms. But how do we distinguish between needing validation and wanting validation?

Undoubtedly, there are practical areas of life where validation is needed . Unless you own your own business, validation is crucial in the workplace as someone else makes the rules. Depending on how well you do, you get a raise or a promotion. It’s also necessary while getting an education. Research papers, book reports, homework, etc all needs to be validated by your teacher or professor in order to ascend to a higher level.

And while this may defined as a little too broad, validation is also needed to be a lawful citizen of wherever you live. You have to follow the law or face the consequences. If you get in trouble and have to go to court, you need validation from the presiding judge to go free.

However, in the areas mentioned above, while definitely mandatory, it’s not particularly difficult to attain the validation if you follow the basic rules. Want to do well in school? Just study and be a diligent student. Want to impress your bosses? Work hard and be dedicated to your profession. Want have a clean record? Don’t commit a crime. Some of these tasks are no doubt easier said than done, but certainly not impossible.

But beyond these few things? Everything should depend on what YOU want out of life. Can you look in the mirror and be proud of the person staring back at you? Does your own conscious approve of you? In the end,

Do you seek validation in everything you do or just certain decisions? How important is acknowledgment on social media to you? Do you feel it’s essential or simply an ego booster? Why or why not? And where do you personally draw the line? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below on our secure servers.

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Shirley Satterfield (@shirleymandelsatterfield)
11 months ago

My sentiments exactly.

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