Don’t Chase Validation
December 5, 2020
“Dad, can I please read you the essay I have written?” My younger son asked me.
I was cagey.
I asked him- “What is your intention in asking me to check on your essay? Are you looking for some suggestions for improvement, or are you seeking validation of the work you have done ?”
What I asked my son is something one of my bosses asked me early in my career.
Even though I knew what I had to do, I had this habit of seeking validation for my decisions and actions. Somehow, there was comfort in having my boss bless what I wanting to do. But he was smart. He knew I was developing a bad habit of not taking responsibility for my own decisions. So once, he asked me point blank- “Why are you checking this with me. Is it for suggestions, or is it for me to validate what you are doing?”
Most times, we are pretty clear about what the right thing to do is. But we seek validation as a way to feel good about the decisions we wish to make. The more we look for the appreciation and validation of others, the more we are running away from taking responsibility for our lives.
Everyone doesn’t need to agree with everything you believe in or everything you say or everything you do. What is important is what you feel in your head. If you are clear in your mind that you are on the right track, then that is all that matters.
In a world where everything is judged by the number of likes, shares, followers, it is very easy to get sucked into a cycle of seeking validation and appreciation of other people.
We cede our mental satisfaction to the very people whose approval we seek.
Don’t chase validation.