Validation…I Hate It.

Okay, we all crave validation. I’m as bad as the next. But I don’t like this need in me and I’m working on eliminating it from my vocabulary.

Why this subject? Well, I was watching old Project Runways the other day and heard one of the finalists talking about how if she wins it will be validation that she really is a designer!

And I thought to myself, Woman, if you don’t believe that already, nothing is going to convince you!

I mean, really! She’s a finalist!

I also like to watch Chopped, another one where time and again, one of the chefs will spout off about winning will give them validation.

Sigh.

You know, if you don’t simply validate yourself then why the hell should you believe anyone else? I’m a big fan of the Shakespeare quote :

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

I really believe it works that way. Being true to yourself means you are true to others. But it’s also true that if aren’t true to your own self…well, why the hell should anyone else? If you love yourself and believe in yourself, then you’ll inspire others to believe in you, too.

I’m working really hard to follow thru on this with myself. It isn’t always easy. Yes, I’m published, with several more books on the way. But the thought that this is all some … I don’t know… masquerade still plays across my mind. And sooner or later, my mask is going to slip and everyone at the ball will turn and see that I don’t belong there.

Despite my knowing that I am an authentic author, I am published, I will continue to have books published and people will read (even if it’s not the landslide I’d dream of)..I doubt that any of it is real.

I don’t need validation.

No, I don’t need it. But I want it. Damn it.

6 Comments:

  1. Validation is not a bad thing to want! We write our stories in part because we want others to enjoy them too. It’s only natural that we want to know that readers find them enjoyable, and that in turn makes us feel our efforts are worthwhile. 🙂

  2. Yeah, but the idea of validation, in general, is a slippery target. It moves and shifts and it’s easy to continually put it just out of reach, so that nothing that happens is good enough to consider real validation. Which is what happens with things like Project Runway, etc…the people who are chosen…who beat out a ton of people to be chosen…are losers if they aren’t THE winner?

    I’m not a fan of a society that considers anything but first place, losing. Yet, I’m as much a victim of it as the rest of us.

  3. I’m someone who believes that validation can be good or bad. It’s good when it’s for yourself – you have set a goal and you accomplish it and it validates to you that’re doing something you love and something right for you.

    When your desire for validation stems from wanting others to acknowledge your success, it becomes a slipperly slope of constantly trying to outdo not only others, but also your own past success. Which them makes you feel like those past successes weren’t as important as they were.

    There’s nothing wrong with a little personal validation though!

  4. I see that on Chopped all the time and it rarely makes sense to me. These people own and run restaurants, cooking full-time and making a living at it. Some cater, some are sous chefs, but they all qualify for the title “Chef” on some level. The ones who don’t have the classic training say this almost everytime.

    I agree with Donna and Sabrina, a little validation can be good. Until that validation determines the way you see yourself, then it’s dangerous. You have an agent who believed in you. You have editors and a publisher who believe in you. But the only reason you have those supporters is because YOU believed in you.

    You’ve already validated your self (sounds dirty, eh?) when you believed in your writing enough to pitch it and put it out there. Is it natural to still want readers to like it? Of course, that’s human. But you don’t NEED everyone to like your stuff. Deep down, I’m positive you know this.

  5. I get setting goals, Sabrina…but it’s the idea that the goal always involves the approval of others before you approve of yourself where it gets tricky… You nailed it on the head when you said “makes you feel like those past successes weren’t as important as they were.”

  6. Terri – I do…but it’s the social expectations, mann! I just fight the feeling that whatever I’ve done isn’t good enough…yet.

    Hate it, really hate it, when that sneaks into things!

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