No Validation Needed
Can you imagine a life where you were able to live fully in the present, being nowhere but right where you are?
The stories we tell ourselves hinder us from being present, fully in the moment of a situation or conversation.
As we go through life, we develop beliefs about who we are as people. We decide whether we are good, worthy, capable, valuable, lovely, honest, and so on. Some significant voices, including parents, teachers, and siblings, help confirm what we think.
By a certain age, the narrative seems so real and true we stop questioning it. We tell ourselves, "This is who I am." Yet, there are parts of "Who I Am" that we do not like. We may believe we are lazy, stupid, or unlovable because of past experiences. I told myself I was not valuable, and the only way I could become valuable was to earn the approval of others. Many situations in my life had seemed to confirm that story. But, deep down inside, there was an ache, a longing to be valuable for who I am and to stop working so hard to please others.
A strange part of being human is that we love to be right about whatever we think is true. We go to great lengths to prove ourselves right, even when we wish that something else was true.
This proving ourselves right happens in conversation. As we converse with others, we subconsciously ask them to validate who we hope we are. I wanted to know, “Am I valuable?” Yet, the whole time I worked to get validation, I was also working to prove I wasn’t worthy of their approval. If that sounds a little crazy, it is! That is the absurdity of looking to others for validation.
Before I knew how to investigate my thinking, I showed up in conversations asking people to validate me, especially people I felt were "better" than me. Subconsciously, the motive of my dialogue was to feel better about myself and my value. I bragged about things I had accomplished. I shared anecdotes that put me in a good light. And, humbling as it is to admit, I judged others by evaluating them, deciding whether they were better or worse than me. Rather than being fully present in that moment, I was with my story and my selfish need to be validated.
We can only be present with one thing at a time.
Being with my story kept me from being present with my friends and appreciating the gift they are to me and the world. As the conversation ended, I walked away with that slimy feeling which comes when we brag or make things just about us. Can you relate to that feeling? I felt yucky inside. I thought about the type of friend I wanted to be but hadn’t been at that moment. Once again, I had proven to myself that I wasn’t valuable.
Though this happens on a subconscious level, it occurs all throughout our day. It plays out in every conversation we have with our spouse, children, clients, friends, and even random strangers.
It's as if we wear a sign around our necks saying, “Please, validate me!” Sadly, what we wind up with is more pain and confirmation of our judgments about ourselves.
There is hope! When we live with a vision and get clear about the person we are committed to being to bring about that vision, we are not as tempted to go around looking for validation from others. We do not live in a question; rather, we choose who and how we want to be. That creates a whole different way of living life.
My personal vision is to be honest, authentic, and present, no matter where I am, who I am with, or what I am doing. That is the type of person I have committed to be. When I show up in conversation, my vision points me toward whom I want to be, rather than asking the other person to tell me who I am. Like the North Star, my vision and commitments keep me on my path.
My decision to be who I am isn’t like waving a magic wand, and suddenly I become that. What it does offer is a foundation to build upon, one moment at a time. When I stand in my vision, I am much quicker to notice when I don’t show up as I want to, and I can go again or start over at any point. I am no longer try to prove anything. Instead, I choose to live in my vision and be who I am committed to being, regardless of what I feel or what others may say about me.
I am fully present in my conversations. My motive is to be nowhere but right there and show up honestly and authentically with whoever is there. What is possible in these conversations is inspiring, uplifting, and transformative. When I show up needing no validation, I leave validated because I see the beauty of the human heart and what is possible when two people connect authentically. I don’t show up in a conversation needing something. Instead, I show up and offer who I am as a gift. This difference leaves both of us feeling energized as we can grow in connection and authenticity.
Validation is not something others can give me, but something I experience as I live in my vision.
What is your vision? Who are you committed to being? Do you need validation, but wish you didn’t? Here are a few simple steps:
Write down the characteristics of the person you are committed to being.
Begin showing up that way.
When you mess up, investigate your motives and what lies under the surface of the choices you made.
Remind yourself of your vision and GO AGAIN, showing up in your commitment.
You may not see huge differences overnight, but I promise that, if you implement these steps daily, you will see changes. You will produce a harvest of transformation that will blow your mind. And, as a bonus, you will get to know yourself and others in a whole new way.
I would love to hear your thoughts and what is coming up for you as you read these words. Please share in the comments below.