Needing Validation, is it all bad?

Needing Validation, is it all bad?

Needing Validation, is it all bad? 

 

Why is it that we seek validation from others? This is a survival trait that has been with us since our caveman days. It’s looking for recognition and reassurance that we belong and are part of the group.

There is safety in numbers and our first goal in life has always been survival. There is a reason why isolation is deemed as one of the worst type of punishments that can be enacted on others. To be kicked out of your caveman clan or to be sent to Siberia as punishment was all seen as a death sentence because your chances of survival were greatly decreased. 

 

Because of this, research has demonstrated that if given a chance we will match and change our answers  to better fit with the group. Even if we disagree with the group, it’s more accepting to stay silent or change your answer to be part of it than to disagree. If you do disagree and verbalize it, research has shown that your brain will send out distress signals. Disagreeing creates stress and because of this in most cases we’ll go with the group mentality. 

This isn’t to say that we can’t stand up and voice our opinions or enact social change because the group doesn’t believe it; it’s just recognizing that it’s much harder to do so than what we assume it is. This is where having a good sense of self and being connected to your values and having provided internal validation are very much needed. 

 

There are two types of validation- Internal and External 

 

The essence of validation is simply to be seen and heard. It’s to feel accepted as part of the group and to accept ourselves. Validation does not mean “approval” but rather  understanding. 

 

In order to not get caught up in the people pleasing and approval seeking of others, you have to start with a true sense of self and self validation. Self validation is understanding and admitting what your true experience is. It’s not about approving everything you do but understanding and not judging or being critical of it. It’s being honest about what your experience is. 

 

Extreme forms of validation are needing external validation where we change to meet other people’s needs. It’s a constant battle of changing ourselves to be viewed favorably, no matter if it falls in line with our values or not. 

There is also an extreme version of internal validation- the type of person that proclaims “I don’t care what people think of me. I do everything for me.” That’s extreme because we are biologically social beings that have relied on each other from inception for survival. You have either overridden that gene to not care about being understood or part of a group, or you are disconnected emotionally from others and purposely not trying to fit in. There is another option, that you are lying to yourself and when that happens our brains know that dissonance. You are not providing internal validation as you are not understanding your own experience. And that is no different than the people pleasing persona.  

 

What do you do about this? In the next post I’ll describe ways that you can connect with your values and build the internal validation and the pitfalls of gauging self via social media.