Validation (not for free parking, the other kind), is a normal part of what we want. We want to be recognized for what we do well, what we do right, when we help others. Being smiled upon feels good. So does being thanked.
Still, validation has a hook that can drag us under. Notice in the above paragraph, we know we did well, did good, and did right. When we aren’t sure about our actions until someone else judges them, well, that’s the sticky part. Once we look to others to tell us we are worthwhile, we start to drift from opinion to opinion, always looking for one that feels right at the time.
Other people’s reality is not ours. Just because my neighbors looks great with her blue hair does not mean I will. Just because she loves hot yoga does not mean I will (ugh, I don’t.) But I don’t tell her I think I’d rather turn the clothes dryer on “high” and hop on in. She loves it, that’s great. I don’t, also great.
Looking at other people for approval is like giving them the keys to our car, getting in the back seat and then getting angry if they don’t take us where we want to go.
There is one more trouble with looking for validation. Without our own approval and acknowledgement, no outside validation is ever enough. If we can’t trust ourselves, we will never be satisfied with anyone else’s opinion. Validation-seeking can be an addiction. One word of praise is never enough.
Build your own values. Build your own opinions. Build your own strength. Jim Rohn, the American entrepreneur said, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”