We all seek external validation, approval and compliments or praise once in awhile. We all need it sometimes and there’s nothing wrong in it, in small healthy doses. It’s hard though isn’t it when as a person you become reliant on it.
I started writing this blog for selfish reasons, I needed an outlet for my thoughts and grief when I just didn’t know how to process the loss of my dad. It had come as a shock and I was already going through a difficult time and everything just felt, well overwhelming. It’s evolved and grown since then and I find myself going through phases of writing lots then not writing much at all, saving posts to share later and some just permanently sitting in my drafts box never to published because the words needed to be put down but not shared.
After sharing posts I sometimes receive a wave of comments off people I know telling me I’m *insert relevant motivational compliment here* in relation to whatever I’ve written. Whilst I appreciate and love this, it’s always nice to know what people think and have them try to boost me, it’s not always really the purpose and meaning behind my writing. If anything it’s the opposite I’m seeking. When I’m writing it’s because I’m processing my own thoughts and validation, I’m reminding myself of what I believe in and what I’m capable of. I’m reminding and reinforcing to myself of my value and strength. I suppose really that was the purpose of the blog when I started it, that I didn’t need my Dad’s external voice anymore, I didn’t need his words and physical presences because I already know myself what I need to do or think.
External validation is all well and good but unless you believe it and feel it for yourself it bears little impact and sustainability. You’ve got to have the faith and belief in your own self. My best friend says it to me all the time, “you don’t need me to tell you this L” he usually says on our car share journeys and he’s right, I already know the answers when I ask him for advice and more importantly I know I’m going to ignore anything he says and do my own thing anyway, because I know myself and what I need better than anyone. And ultimately we need to sort ourselves out don’t we, we need to be able to address our own internal and external problems, granted sometimes with the help of others but ultimately we have to do it for ourselves in our own mind.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying compliments and other people’s positivity and support isn’t necessary, valid and very very kind, it just shouldn’t be the only thing you are reliant on. We have some lovely initiatives at work, staff nominations and thank a teacher rewards for staff and pupils to show gratitude and appreciation for each other’s efforts, support and going above and beyond. What’s key for us all though it’s that we don’t get fixated on these and actually take the time to look at true job satisfaction, I know I’ve done a good job when I see the positive atmosphere in my classroom, when I see my studio full of students challenging themselves, pushing themselves and achieving their creative and performance goals. I know I’ve done a good job when I see my area improving and the staff motivated and happy in their individual roles, all striving to make what we deliver the best it can be. Just like I know I’m thriving as a mum when I see little P comfortable and happy to express herself, let down her guard and be her natural self.
You’ve got to be able to look at yourself for your own validation in order to be truly content and don’t get me wrong I’m not always the best at this at all, hence why I write. You’ve got to be able to reflect on yourself. Most importantly you’ve got to never ever stop working on yourself and improving you for you. Other people’s opinions do matter but they’re not the be all and end all.
I think we’ve also got to be careful about the nature of what compliments and validation we seek. I love it when someone tells me they’ve taken comfort in something I’ve written, when they say I’ve helped them see a more positive point of view. I always think the most meaningful supportive comments are the ones with depth, that show how someone else sees your worth and value and appreciates what you bring to the table. We live in a world of superficial gratification, how many TikTok and Instagram followers can an influencer have, but 1 million likes from strangers isn’t always as meaningful as one person close to you saying, “thanks, I appreciate your time and value your thoughts” that’s worth more than a million thumbs up and love hearts from across the globe.
So I write not because I’m seeking validation from others but because I’m reinforcing my own. I’m reinforcing what I’ve learnt for myself from others and I’m processing negativity in order to remain positive. I write for selfish reasons, it’s my own outlet and if it helps others too then that’s just a bonus.