Even The ‘Mighty’
Celebrity-watch is not one of my pastimes but the activities of a few, very few, do occasionally catch my attention. Tyrese Gibson is one and his most recent marriage has interested me. The fact of him tying the knot is not what interests me but the mixed reactions of his fans. His own response to their attitudes towards, acceptance of and, for some, non-acceptance of his new wife is telling. What prompted this post is a fan’s recent comment. She essentially told him to stop seeking validation of his relationship.
Still not done reading Care Of The Soul. As I wrote last week, my reading of it takes place on weekday mornings on my train ride into the downtown core. For the rest of the day and in fact on the weekends, the words of the book are intentionally lived out in my daily coming and going. This matter of validation, although not directly discussed in the book, is relevant.
Who would think that a celebrity, a millionaire or even a President of a country of whatever size would be seeking validation of his or her public? Minions, the ‘power-less’, those who have traditionally been marginalized whether by society or in the privacy of their homes are perhaps in need of it. Not a handsome or a beautiful woman, a nation’s leader, a CEO of a large corporation. Their place in society is enough, no?
What Is Validation?
Do not wait for someone else to validate your existence; it is your own responsibility. ― Jasz Gill
According to the Free Dictionary, the definition of the process is:
tr.v. val·i·dat·ed, val·i·dat·ing, val·i·dates
Do not misunderstand, we all need to feel validated whether that is in our personal or work relationships. It is a fantastic feeling when you have worked say on a project and your boss compliments your progress and/or result. Simple words such as “Thank you,” can validate you. This is especially true after a trying situation that you helped someone through with your skills. The fact that you now have a well-paying job, a nice house and the car of your dreams might serve as validation for your years of study and sleepless nights.
Doctor Karen Hall defines validation as “the recognition and acceptance of another person’s internal experience as being valid.”
What If It Never Comes?
But – what if that “recognition and acceptance” of your internal experience never comes? Do you perpetually go in search of it? Where do you find it?
In his book, Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter describes us in what some might consider a demeaning fashion:
“The whole world is sick…we’ve all got this pathetic need to be seen. We’re a bunch of fucking toddlers trying to get attention.”
Harsh though it might sound, there is in fact a lot of truth to his words. When you consider the impact that social media has had on not only the way we communicate but the multitude of people vying for validation. “Make this viral,” “the next Youtube celebrity” or “trending” are some of the ways we, and I am including myself, seek validation these days. The amount of likes and hits on our pages are way more important that the content of our hearts. Twitter has become the tool for international relationships these days, gaining far more importance than good ole’ diplomacy.
If those likes, tweets, snaps or whatever they are called, are not many, a person is likely to lose their raison d’être. Being an overnight sensation is way more important these days. Even those who did it the long and hard way, like Tyrese, can lose sight of self-validation.
Self-Validation: The Long, Hard But Lasting Way
Just yesterday I was conversing with one of the most beautiful young women I have had the pleasure of meeting. Her full story was not known to me and although she shed further light about her journey yesterday, there is more to come. However, through her words and conclusions, it was clear to me that self-validation is still a lesson on her curriculum.
From maternal abuse and neglect, along the roads of poverty and jail time to where she is today – an up and coming business woman, she still wants external recognition. Married to a man who adores her no end, she is mother to a teenager who clearly is copying her successes. Yet, this dear woman is finding it challenging to release society’s past negativity and degradation of her to embrace the validation her crossroad now offers.
This is an enormous topic, one that could be the subject of many posts. Today’s conversation is an invitation to reflect on your personal process of self-validation. It is extremely important that wherever you are and in whatever circumstance you find yourself, that you understand and appreciate it for what it is AND make it “okay” to be there. Only you can do that. Your loved ones, co-workers, boss, friends can help but only You can care for your soul. This is indeed soul work.
Caring For Yourself
Earlier, I included myself among those who feel some sense of validation in the number of likes, shares, etc that we receive on social media. It is hard not to. The true test of self-awareness, however, is recognizing what is and then changing what needs changing. My early foray into blogging had much to do with using my mess as the message as it was about how many visitors would come. That has changed and is reflected in how my blog has developed over the years. Number count still matters but not my primary focus. As a dear friend used to say, “if you help one, your work is done.”
Being human in my expression, as you are, there are days when the number bites into me and so I turn to my self-validation tools. Journalling, writing posts, standing in front of the mirror and giving myself a pep talk are some of my practices. What are yours? Do take this poll and share with all who might be seeking ways to refocus.
At the beginning of this month, a book recommendation section was added to the right of the page. Click on the book links within the posts or on any book in that section and you will go to my Amazon Associate page. Purchases made through this link will benefit me. Full disclosure. As well, you can buy any of my coaching services through Fiverr. They start at as little as $5. Check them out here.
Namaste until next week!