There is no doubt that validation is an important aspect of human life. As children, it is a vital learning tool when obtaining basic skills. For example, when learning to speak, we are validated by the reactions of people around us to our first mutterings of “mama” or “dada.”
We see the joy and excitement of our parents as they delight in hearing our first words. This reaction encourages us to keep learning. We like the reactions we witness so we naturally want to repeat the behavior that produces this reaction.
As we grow, validation continues to encourage us in many ways to become functioning members of society. Feeling we belong to a group and are acceptable to our peers as we grow into adulthood, teaches us appropriate behavior.
As recovering addicts validation helps us to understand when we are making the right choices. This, of course, is hugely important because many of us have spent our entire lives making horrendous choices mindlessly, without understanding the consequences and often being rejected by those who matter to us most.
So like a baby, we seek validation as guidance. Again it is mostly the reaction of the people around us that makes us want to continue on our path of recovery. Our family starts to communicate with us again. We hear how well we are looking. We are told it’s great to have the real you back by those who love you.
People begin to place trust in you again. In return, you want to make them happy and become mindful of their needs. You become compassionate and loving and this mode of living makes you feel acceptable.
But when does our need for validation become a negative thing?
In my experience validation can damage our growth if we become addicted to it and become people pleasers just so we can keep that feeling of belonging and acceptance. Oftentimes times validation is what pigeonholes us into a societal idea of what is acceptable.
We then stop growing because we believe we have made it! We have been accepted by the world again so it feels hugely important to maintain what we have. We stop questioning how we live, our morals, and our ethics and perhaps become dogmatic. Our minds become closed because we believe we have everything we need.
We become fearful of being rejected again if we feel or think differently than our peer group. So we begin to abandon ourselves internally. We don’t express that thought or feeling in case we are somehow wrong or different. We stunt our own growth.
This week I invite you to go within and really examine what your true thoughts, motivations and feelings are behind your behavior and lifestyle choices.
Ask yourself, do you fully trust yourself?
Are you still closed-minded and fearful of meeting your true self?
Have you become dogmatic or people-pleasing in your attitude?
Are you being dutiful in support of something you really agree with or because you feel you finally belong?
Are you fully, or even partially open to expansion, learning, and growth?
Are your deepest beliefs and your actions aligned?
Is your entire life fueled by the need for validation and a need to be right?
Your answers may surprise you.