Finding or getting your sense of self worth in and from other people is very human, but also fleeting. If we find our validation – our worthiness, our feeling of ‘being important or special’ – in our friends, the opposite sex, our parents or strangers on the internet, we have to go back to them for it every single time. And that isn’t very comforting OR sustainable, is it?
The point is, we all do it. We all want to be recognized and seen by other people. We all want other people to want us, or to want to be us. We all want to know that we are worthy, so we look for signs that show us that we are smart, kind, beautiful or interesting.
Why we do it
We need this validation from other people because we are social beings, and getting validated feels like we are part of a group, like we are ‘in’. For our ancestors, and still in a different way today, this social status increases our probability for staying alive.
But although we are practically worthless on our own in the biological and evolutionary sense, our worthiness as a person, as a human being, as a young woman, does NOT require validation from others (or at all).
Why it’s bad news
And if we do feel the need for validation – which is completely normal – we should stay away from finding it in compliments, likes or envy from others. This validation is usually timely and very superficial. It is usually only a poorly found appreciation of our body, our beauty, or our general likability in the eyes of others.
But even if the validation we get from others is true, profound and justified (say, the unconditional love you get from a parent, or the appreciation of your talents by a friend) we should refrain from being dependent on their judgement. The point is, if we find our sense of self worth in something outside of us, on something that is as timely and fleeting as another person, we have to go back to them for it every single time.
We all know the girl who fishes for compliments all the time, don’t we? Or we all know the feeling of being someone’s obsession, but somehow it doesn’t feel like you are valued enough just yet. We have all told our mom ‘Well I know you think I’m beautiful, but that’s just you.’
This shows that someone else’s validation never fully satisfies our ego. And it shouldn’t. Because as you might already know, things that appeal to the ego are hardly ever good news to the soul. The kind of validation that we look for in others, can by its external, superficial and temporary nature never truly give us a sense of self worth.
So, where do we find our validation, then? It has to be a source that is not temporary, that is not external, that does not run out and that is profound and universally true. But where you find it varies from person to person.
For a religious soul, this might be God. For a spiritual one, this is Source, energy, connectedness or the universe. An atheist might find it in self-realization or a humanist view on identity and self. But basically everyone could find it in their humanity, their talents, their kindness, their special role within society, or the fact that you are here, now, and you are you – perfectly different from everyone else but similar enough to always be part of the whole.
If you ever feel let down by someone else because they don’t validate you, remember that your worthiness is not tied to their timely opinion. That you weren’t willing to come back for another shot of validation every single day anyway. That like Sagan said, ‘we are all made from starstuff’. And there is nothing any other human can do about that.
So whether you have many friends or no friends at all, whether you have 1k likes on Instagram or 1, whether people call you beautiful or people call you ugly, your worth remains the same and untainted. Always.