Validation: The recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile.
As people we love to be validated. We love to know that someone out there thinks that we matter. We love validation in our work places. We want the boss to know that they need us, we want our co workers to know that we’re adding benefit to the workplace. We love validation in our schools. We want our teachers to think we’re intelligent. We want to be told “Great job!” on our papers or projects, or get excellent grades so that we avoid disapproval from those around us. We crave validation in our friend groups. We want our friends to value us. We hurt when a friend doesn’t talk to us for a few days or when our snap streak is broken. We want validation from people who aren’t even our friends. How do we know this? Because most of us (not all of us) spend far too much time trying to find out why certain people disapprove of us, and invest too much energy into trying to prove our value to that person or a group of people. We want validation from our families. We want mom to be proud of us and it hurts when she is not (even if we pretend it doesn’t). We want dad to celebrate our accomplishments and cheer us on. We want our siblings to be our biggest supporters and we want to make the grandparents proud. We seek validation everywhere.
I struggle with this at times. After the completion of something that I’m proud of, I’ll find myself seeking another’s approval, searching for the words “good job” or “wow! You did that?” I catch myself tho and usually cut it out. I am much better than I was as a late teenager/younger adult. I remember the existential crisis I had a few weeks after I graduated from university. I completed my degree at the end of December and began a brand new job in the beginning of January. It was a big ol’ fancy adult job with big titles, copious amounts of responsibilities, tons of learning to be done and something I’ve never had before; health care, dental, life insurance and all kinda of crazy adult stuff. I was pretty happy. I mean, I was hecka nervous too, I had never had the title of “Director” ever before in my life. At that time the biggest thing I had been in charge of was making sure my swim team got to their proper lanes and such on time. So I began, I learned, I tried, I tried some more.
There came a point though, where I realized something that created a severe panic in me; how do I know how I’m doing? How do I know if I’m doing a good job or a bad job? There we’re no grades in the work world (side note: I could have said real world but chose not to purposefully. Your world is real whether you’re 14 or 58, I’ve always found that term condescending; John Mayer agrees). There are no progress reports to send home and get signed by your parent after a sit down table discussion about how you can do better in the next quarter. There were no teacher check-ins where they listed for you the projects you needed an 80 or above on to make sure you maintained your GPA…there was none of that. There was also none of the proud moments where you’d hand your glowing report to your parent after the hardest semester of your life and say “hey, I made it.” Those days were over and I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t know how to define myself. I didn’t know where to find my validation, I had a major melt down.
So. How did I solve this issue? How did I eliminate this panic? I started by journaling (I’m an advocate for it! More about journaling here). I wrote about my lack of validation fears. I put them in my face and stared at them. I needed to know why I so desperately needed another person to check the “you are valuable” box off for me. I eventually learned that yea, I can do that myself; I can check the box, be happy, love myself and all of that. But more importantly I learned that someone already did that. Someone, before I was worthy (and let’s face it…no amount of work I do can ever make me worthy) checked that box for me. Yea I’m talking about Jesus. I learned that I find my validation, my purpose, my worth through Jesus. I learned that it’s most important that I seek his approval, because even tho everyone else’s approval feels good for a moment, His is the only one that is consistent. The wrong friends may influence negative behaviors in order for you to win their approval, or make you seek their approval again and again. But Jesus, He really wants what’s best for me. Not sure? Check these out:
But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
Validation: The fruit you produce (the result of your work, your life) brings glory to God. (He’s proud)
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.17 This is my command: Love each other.
Validation: We are Jesus’ friends. He chose us. He gave us a purpose, to go and produce lasting fruit. We read above the fruit brings glory to God.
19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
Validation: God takes care of us. We have riches and wealth already, so we are already taken care of.
These are just a few of the many verses you can find. I am not a bible scholar, so when I need to find something in the bible about a certain topic I use…wait for it…Google. Yes. Almighty Google to help me. You can too, of course weed through the crazy stuff, there will always be some strange conspiracy rant blog in your search results, but check out the verses that come up. Read some blogs by people talking about that exact thing you’re looking for guidance or help with. Find out just how in love with you Jesus is, once you discover that, your need for validation from other sources will slowly start to fade away.
These verse and many others like them helped me to chip away at the need to please and seek others for that warm fuzzy feeling through their validation. I am less exhausted now that I am no longer trying to please everyone. I feel more complete and to be honest, I love my work and life much more that my purpose is not defined by another person. I remind myself daily that in all that I do I work for God. That goes for you too whether it’s studying for a test, mopping floors, cleaning your room, babysitting, planning events. In all of it seek validation from the one who designed you, He gives it freely.
Have you had any experiences with seeking validation from others? Or maybe you struggle with those issues now, either way I would love to hear from you in the comments below!
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