Friday, August 19, 2016

Why We Need Authentic Validation



Last week I watched this beautiful short movie Validation for the first time and basically all I want to do now is do what this guy does when I grow up. He practically summarizes all of my life goals. I think we can all agree that validation is vital, not simply for our self-esteem, but for our personal growth and emotional well-being as humans. Yet it is something that is extremely undervalued and cheapened in our society. A couple weeks ago I shared an article describing a few of the potential pitfalls of social media. My last point in that article was about using social media as a platform for cheap self-validation. For instance, sharing selfies and photos to achieve likes and automatically feel successful (guilty as charged).

I am going to be honest with you—I like sharing the occasional selfie and, yes, I feel validated when people like my pictures because I put substantial effort into putting myself together everyday, taking that exquisitely posed picture, and choosing the perfect filter to match. But I will be the first to admit there is a fine line between feeling comfortable in your own skin and being obsessed with your skin, your features, and your face and being obsessed with maintaining that quality, filtered, Instagram image of yourself. Because let’s face it, 75% of the time, the pictures we share on social media are not accurate representations of everyday life.

That’s the problem with social media. It’s insta-validation but it’s not real validation. If anything, social media teaches us that we don’t deserve validation on days when we don’t look like we appear in our posed and filtered profile pictures. Not only that, but I feel like social media dissuades us from offering authentic validation to others in real life. It takes a lot more effort and thought to give someone a legitimate compliment in real life, to listen to what they have to say and validate the way they feel, confirm their opinions, intelligence, and personality characteristics, instead of simply liking their photo online. Real validation takes observing someone—not in a creepy way—but in a generous, attentive, loving, and honest fashion. It also takes a giving heart that expects nothing in return. Compliments are not genuine when they are only given with ulterior motives or the expectation of having your compliment returned.

This beautiful short movie prompted me to think of the many people in my life and their many good qualities, and how often do I validate those qualities? Granted, I think it would get old fast if I kept up a steady stream of compliments for my friends and family all day long—I don’t know, maybe they would like that—but sometimes I wonder if we need to stop being so self-aware and self-conscious and instead take time to be genuinely thoughtful and appreciative of others. Because when it comes down to it, validating others takes more effort and skill than we might think.

Real, authentic, meaningful validation takes effort, honesty, genuine appreciation, and the absence of personal insecurity and envy. In order to validate someone, we have to be able to look at what they have and the gifts and talents they were given and simply appreciate them without coveting what they have. In order to really validate someone else, we have to conquer our own insecurities and discontentment. I don’t know about you, but this might be the greatest point of weakness for me. Envy is easy to bury and keep silent, but it’s an ugly monster that rears its head into visibility ever so often and is most evident in our hesitation to genuinely appreciate other people in our lives—to be able to rejoice with those who rejoice and to build one another up.

Let us challenge one another—to stop the vicious cycles of comparison, envy, self-deprecation, gossip, slander, even “soft gossip” and instead use our words to genuinely validate and build one another up, to wake up every morning with so much thankfulness in our hearts for the people in our lives that we can’t help but let our gratefulness spill out of our mouths, to be less aware of our insecurities and failures and more aware of the good gifts in our lives. Let’s look to fill needs and give grace wherever we can. Let’s be aware every single day of how much wealth we have—yes, wealth, and this is coming from the broke college student—because I for one have always had more than I need. And if you really thought hard about it, I think you would agree with me that most of us don’t have a lot of reasons to complain.

Do you make a habit of genuinely validating others? Do you have any tips or advice for offering real, authentic validation? Have you ever struggled to receive compliments or validation? 

6 comments :

  1. This makes me so happy that you watched Validation for the first time. ;) I love this little video and have already watched it several times, but it never gets old. It also almost always me cry a little because its so sweet. And its inspiring too. ;)

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    1. Thank you, Hannah! I can't believe I hadn't seen it before because it definitely resonates with me. :D

      Dani xoxo

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  2. Envy is definitely my fatal flaw. Validating others and feeling validated can be hard for me.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. I think it's a fatal flaw for many of us! I hope to delve into this subject a little more later on my blog. Thank you, Victoria!! :)

      Dani xoxo

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  3. Wow, this was very challenging to me. I hadn't ever really thought about much of that before, but I feel like it's so true. You have a lovely blog, dear, and you have a lovely way of putting deep thoughts into words. Thank you!

    Lorraine // Laurel Crowned

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  4. Thank you so much, Lorraine! :D

    Dani xoxo

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