We all need outside validation from time to time. To be told you’re good at your job, to be given a pat on the back for making the right call, or just to be sincerely told, “I love you”. But the main source of our validation should come from within. If you rely solely or mainly on outside sources to lift you up, you’ll find yourself in a terrible cycle, and it goes like this. It starts with a high from that compliment or praise, which is exactly how we all feel when complimented, and rightly so. But then like any rush, it subsides. Without that source of validation that should live within, we crash. Sound familiar?
Social media makes it easy to seek outside validation, easy to be caught up in the cycle of chasing that high, and easy to disappointed. How many likes, hits, comments, you get on your content become a measuring stick for your own self worth, and if the numbers are low, well, then so are you.
Today is my birthday. Before today, I had been having a hard time with this number. 34. I am officially in my mid-thirties, and before today, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. I’ve always had this nagging feeling like I’m constantly pulling the wool over people’s eyes and one day they’re going to find out my secret; that I’m not nearly as talented as they think, or that I’m making it up as I go along, and that all this time I’ve been fooling them into thinking I’ve got it under control. I think we all feel that way from time to time, and I think that’s ok. Nobody can be 110% all day, every day. Here’s the crux of it all though: when those thoughts come, that’s the time to draw from your inner pool of validation. I think of it like this: Everyone has a well of water (validation). You drink from yours, everyone else drinks from theirs, and often times you give or accept drinks from other wells. That’s great and fine, because you’re tending to your own and being satiated by the water from it. But if you’re slaking your thirst by drinking from everyone else’s well, you’ll come back to your own and find it is dry. It hasn’t been tended to.
Why is it so important to be able to validate yourself, you ask? Maybe you’re having a bad day because you made a major blunder at work, or aren’t getting along with your friend/partner/family, or just have general doubts that you can’t seem to shake. Those are the days when I need my inner validation the most. Yes, maybe I did make a mistake, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still smart and intelligent. Maybe I’m not sure if I made the right choice of words with a colleague or friend, but that doesn’t mean I’m worthless. All it means is that I’m human, and so are you. And maybe you’re not getting the outside validation you think you need or deserve, but that doesn’t mean that the people surrounding don’t still think you’re grand.
So bring on 34, and thank you ALL for the birthday well wishes. It’s amazing (overwhelming) to me how people in your life come out of the woodwork to share their thankfulness of your existence. I am just as thankful for each one of their presence in my life. And tomorrow when it’s just another day, I’ll still be buoyed those wishes. It will help to push me in the right, positive direction for my coming year. And in this year, I welcome every flaw, wrinkle, blunder, and stumble. Each one of those gives me an opportunity to learn more about myself and gives me a chance to continue to fill up my inner pool of validation. Cause I’m awesome and so are you 🙂