Today’s topic is validation, especially it’s relationship to mental health and how validation can operate on social media platforms.
How valid is the human need for validation?
And what exactly is validation?
This is the Psychology Today definition….
Understanding Validation: A Way to Communicate Acceptance. … Validation is the recognition and acceptance of another person’s thoughts,feelings, sensations, and behaviors as understandable. Self-validation is the recognition and acceptance of your own thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviors as understandable.
And here is my summerSHINES one…
“Validation is putting yourself, your thoughts, feelings, and your physical appearance clearly out there, in the hope you will find acceptance and positive judgement to confirm your acceptability.”
Seeking validation is a test of self-worth.
In an uncertain world with this much change, flux and turmoil, validation seeking is an (in my view), adaptive emotional strategy to generate positive outcomes and positive appraisals of the self from external sources.
To get something validated is to seek outside confirmation and proof of something.
If one person believes something does that make it true?
If fifty people believe something does that make it more true?
We all know of times where the majority gets something wrong, and the person with the lone quiet voice gets it right…however most of the time people like to consult a pool of people on something and feel reassured when the majority express a particular viewpoint. Validation seeking, essentially, is seeking proof from as many sources as possible that you are a valuable, competent, likeable and attractive human being.
We all want to be seen as valuable, competent, likeable and attractive to other members of our human tribe. That is not always in a conforming sense. ie…you don’t have to be like everyone else in order to be perceived as valuable, competent, likeable and attractive to humankind. In actual fact, the people who really stick out in life and are revered for their personal attractiveness as humans are atypical/unusual/out of the ordinary and very different.
We can seek (if we are oriented that way) to seek validation of how similar we are to the gang…or, alternatively we can seek out validation of our extraordinariness/our atypicalness/our unusualness/our uniqueness/our quirkiness/our fresh way of thinking and perceiving life, situations and relationships.
I would rather be validated in the latter way. I would rather be validated for standing out in whatever way happens when I am truly my authentic self.
I know I could be different and act different, but I would rather create a name for myself by being myself…as being yourself (when you get the hang of it), is the easiest thing to maintain…far easier to maintain your authenticity, than to maintain a life of acting, pretending, faking and hiding. That option takes WAY MORE EFFORT.
“I would rather piss people off by being myself, than be adored for being something I patently am NOT”.
When you are totally your authentic self and people don’t like you, the downside is it can hurt probably slightly worse when you’re socially rejected, BUT when you are yourself, and people like you for that, the pleasure of any positive attention is magnified ten-fold.
Do you wanna know how to feel positive about yourself and maintain that?
The answer is…BE YOU, and find your unique tribe who like you for you. It’s that simple.
Every human has a tribe. You just have to be yourself and wait for them to flock to you.
Believe me, they will flock.
Inauthenticity is as obvious as poor applied poor quality & overly dark fake tan. You see a orange person walk towards you, and you scream in your mind “FAKEEEEE!!!!!!”
If you have Tourette syndrome you may even actually say it.
We can spot fake a mile off.
Fake makes us uncomfortable.
Fake makes us look….pretty?
Nope….pretty awful actually.
Real is attractive. Real makes us enticing to other people who live on your vibe and want to be part of your tribe.
Real people have the confidence to REVEAL themselves as they are.
Real people set out their “THIS IS ME” stall and wait for the punters to turn up and rummage through your personality stall and say,
“yep this one. I like you. You are exactly my favourite and best kind of human”!
I like validation. I like positive attention. I like reassurance. I like to be told “well done”. I like to be appreciated. I like to feel I have had a positive effect on the mood, feelings and wellbeing of others. When I get encouraging blog comments it encourages me to keep blogging, because at the end of the day I operate this blog for free with no pay-check. The only pay-check available is the abstract sense of personal satisfaction I get from doing whatever it is that I’m doing.
I like to write a blog and people to read it. I like to get new followers. I like people to say a post has provoked reflection and helped people see something in a different light. I like to be told I have made someone laugh, or even cry in empathic recognition. I like to affect people emotionally and inspire them. I like people to remember me. I don’t want to be forgotten or left behind.
When I post on social media or on this blog, I hope for nice responses. I think that’s fairly standard human nature with us being human tribe members.
Are we really that different from primates? (That’s another post!)
I was criticised for my EXCESSIVE need for validation last week. Someone else judged my human impulse for nice positive strokes and supportive encouragement was a type of psychological glitch….something to be ashamed of.
What I would argue in response is that if I sought validation from a place of not being my real self and just faking a particular role, then perhaps it could be seen as a “attention seeking” gesture, purely to generate a swathe of complimentary but unreal positive feedback.
When I seek validation, there is nothing insincere or inauthentic about it. I don’t purport to be anything that I’m not, or anything better than I truly am.
I am just me, being me, doing me, feeling me, living me.
What is so wrong about self-expression of your authentic self on social media?
Is that really wrong?…is it?
I think presenting yourself as a ‘fake but ideal’ person is perhaps less desirable, but still a human choice to do. I certainly though don’t believe that it is wrong to be as you are, and to hope for acceptance and kindness and encouragement back from your fellow human tribe members.
Is my need for validation a shameful secret to be kept behind closed doors?
Is my need for validation any different from your need for validation?
Some people are generally more successful at attracting positive validation back from others. Somebody said to me lately I had “people eating out of the palm of my hands”
….saying that implies manipulative and twisted intent, when actually there is NONE.
…there is nothing but purity and transparency about my drive to receive supportive validation online.
I don’t hide that I want my friends to support me, and I don’t present any front on social media whatsoever. The only “front” I guess I can admit to doing in a small way is aiming to write positive things on my blog wherever possible, even if I’m in a shitty mood….but really that is not fakery…that is just an effort to create output that people will want to read and be positively impacted by reading.
If I want to moan, I tend to do it on Facebook or messenger rather than my summerSHINES blog. I don’t tend to enjoy reading blogs that are entirely cathartic moaney ones. I like blogs where the writer constructs and sculpts some kind of appealing content and original thought.
But aside from my effort to try and inspire (which I personally believe is a good thing) I am me, warts and all.
I blog when I’m happy and elated. I blog when I’m excited. I blog when I’m worried, fearful, angry, resentful, hopeful, gutted, empty, bursting, reflecting, celebrating, hating- just plain F.E.E.L.I.N.G fucking anything! I have no airs and graces. I have no fronts or acts. I have posted vlogs of me crying on YouTube. I have ranted and sworn and cursed about absolutely everything and anything! I have discussed the time I had an endoscopy FFS!
It is all me, social media snapshots of the myriad of colours and black and whiteness that makes me me. I am not selective. You see the whole spectrum of SHINE, even the dullness that sometimes hits.
Judge me if you like, but I have an emotional need for this type of attention which is deep rooted, but also very understandable.
To judge the human need for validation as abnormal is to condemn the majority of the human race.
Why should be feel bad for having emotional needs and forming social relationships that fulfil those needs?
I won’t feel bad for it.
Next time someone says to you you’re being “attention seeking”…reply, “yes…I am…….do you know what?…it turns out I’m normal!”
That’ll shut them up.
Don’t feel shame for wanting other humans to be kind and supportive to you and not wanting people to drag you down or dim your shine.
There is nothing wrong with being who you are.
If people have a problem with you being you, always remember it is not up to you to bear the burden of someone else’s problem. It is up to them to own their problem, and not project it onto you.
You ARE valid.
You are ok.
To seek validation is absolutely OK and very normal.
If you ask me, anyone who has difficulty accepting you as you, needs to first examine themselves as them.
PS. THIS IS ME SEEKING VALIDATION BY SHOWING A PHOTO OF ME WITH MY R.E.D (RUN EVERY DAY) JANUARY MEDAL WHICH ARRIVED TODAY AND I AM VERY PROUD OF ;)
…..see…it’s ok! Why not be overt about it.
“VALIDATE ME GODDAMMIT!………
……..I’M ONLY HUMAN” :P
“Give me real don’t give me fake”