Me – “You so would not believe what BLANK did/said today”
You – “What did they do?”
Me – “Well, I was blah blah blah, and they blah blah blah. Can you believe that?”
You – “No way. What did you do?”
Me – “Well, I blah blah blah. And they blah blah blah. So I blah blah blah. What do you think? Did I do the right thing? Should I have said that?”
You – “Wow YOU WERE SO RIGHT! blah blah blah. I don’t know what blah blah blah YOU WERE RIGHT and blah blah blah”
Me – “Well that’s what I thought/felt/meant”
How many times have you had this kind of conversation? Now, I will admit, most of the time, it is between two females. Men don’t in general have this kind of conversation. But for some reason when things happen in our lives, often times we second guess what we did or maybe we feel guilty for something we did. Or maybe we felt we over reacted. Or one of a million other things. But, it all boils down to we ask someone else if they think what we did was the right thing to do or say. We look for validation. Validation of our actions, validation of our reactions, validation of our emotions. Should we have been angry, sad, upset, or whatever. Now, I think that there is nothing wrong with looking for validation from others. I think that many times that really helps us to feel better about ourselves. We receive the assurance from our friends/family/loved ones or whoever that what we did was the right thing. Thus, we feel better.
Now, I don’t think seeking validation is a bad thing. I don’t think that seeking support in difficult situations is wrong. But, when you start second guessing everything you say and do, or wanting people to pick sides, or needing someone to validate everything in your life, there is a problem. If you lack the confidence to feel like anything you say or do is the right thing, there is a problem.
Recently, I was told by someone close to me that I could be “whiny” and “needy” and let me tell you, it hurt. It made me upset and angry. I reacted with a barrage of self-defense. But, I failed in a couple of ways in my eyes. I allowed that person to make me feel a certain way. Which I just blogged about a couple of days ago. I allowed that person to upset me and control my emotions. But also, I didn’t think about it. I just reacted. I don’t like to “fly by the seat of my pants” in discussions like that. I like to think through what the person is saying, consider if I feel like it is true, try to see things how they see them, then react. But, instead, I allowed my emotions to take over and just reacted. So, anyway, after that – I had some time and I thought about it. So, what did I do? I called my daughter, who I love and trust to tell me the truth. And what did she say? Well, she said that she didn’t think it was so much I was needy or whiny, but that I sought validation for things from people. That I needed to hear from those I love and trust that I am okay, that I am doing the right thing, that I am justified in my needs, my emotions, my actions, and my decisions. Hmmm. So, why do I need to hear from others that I’m right? Why can’t I decide for myself if I am right or wrong? Why do I have to go to others to validate myself? Shouldn’t I be able to be secure and confident enough that I don’t need to constantly have others tell me that I was right? I should be able to do that. I should be able to do things in life, whether it be stand up for myself, make a decision, have an argument, or pick out clothes. Whatever it might be. Without needing someone else to tell me I am doing the right thing. Wow, this is a toughie. I thought about it, and it’s gotten worse. Like a slide down a hill on a sled. Now, as I think about it, I realize that it has gotten to the point that any time anything happens in my life, I have to talk to someone about it and get validated. My mother, my daughter, my mother in law, my husband (in times of desperation), my best friend, any friend, a random stranger in Walmart. Whoever is there that I can get a hold of, flipping frantically through the phone book, looking for a name that might be someone who will tell me I’m alright. Okay, well maybe I haven’t gotten that bad. But, I will admit to some of it. I will admit that anymore, I am constantly calling one of them going “was I right? Did I do the right thing?”.
So, now comes the really, really hard part. I have admitted there is a problem. I have looked at it. But, now I have to do something about it. Yikes! I have to change. Double Yikes! Somehow, I need to get back the confidence, the self-assurance, the independence, self-esteem, to not need everyone else to validate me all the time. But, how do I do that? How do I suddenly tell myself I don’t need everyone else to support me? Well, maybe by baby steps like everything else I am trying to do. I think what I am going to try and do is, the next time I feel the need to call someone and get their approval, I’m going to not call. I’m going to not tell someone what happened. I’m going to wait and see how it works out. I’m going to force myself to not ask the questions “What do you think? Did I do the right thing?” and see what happens. I’m not sure, but the world might end. If it does, sorry guys, didn’t mean to blow up the planet. If it doesn’t, maybe I will start to gain confidence in myself enough to not need to be validated as often. I mean, hearing you are right is okay some of the time. But I have to quit cold turkey, suffer through the withdraw and then look at it again. I wonder if they have rehab for this kind of thing. Validation Anonymous. I could get a sponsor who I could call with shakes in the middle of the night, who would then refuse to validate me. She would talk me down until I could get a grip again. Sigh, I think I’m kind of on my own with this one. And please, dear readers, I love to hear from you in the comments. But do me a favor, please don’t tell me “You are so right”!