I have been thinking a great deal about validation and its connection with effort level. I often find it so simple to justify inadequate effort due to a lack of validation. What does validation do for us that we are willing to work or not work on its behalf? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines validity as the confirmation of one’s worthiness or legitimacy. The need for external validation is what drives some to seek unhealthy relationships with work or others.
I don’t think that I am terribly in need of external validation, but the appearance of a need does sometimes present. At times, I feel like I want to be appreciated for my strengths or my perceived accomplishments from people that don’t actually care about me. Why do I care what people that don’t care about me think? I can usually resist this need, but occasionally I find myself craving the approval of the world. Particularly, I find myself seeking validation in my career or job. I think this is due to an insecurity I harbor. I never focused on my career in my early twenties, seeking instead travel and adventure at all cost. By my mid-late twenties, I felt behind and like I had to jump in and land where everyone else had, even though they hadn’t necessarily prioritized what I had.
I find myself suffering from this line of thinking less and less everyday, although it can still creep in from time to time. I have found the solution to be painfully simple and have learned it in a few areas of my life already (i.e. health, fitness, money). The solution is acceptance.
In order to further yourself in any way, you NEED to accept where you are. You cannot get from A to B if you don’t first accept the fact that you are starting from point A. If you don’t accept that your next step is A to B, you will spend all of your energy learning how to get from C to D. A lot of times our imaginations can get the best of us, and we are on to the next thing before we complete the last! This is normal; this is madness!
Maybe the answer is meditation, a spiritual practice, or giving up entirely. Maybe the race for validation and success is worthwhile and noble, albeit exhausting. I can’t say much for certain about that. But, what I can say is that if you are working towards a goal, whether pure or not, you have to start where you are. If you can’t walk a mile, and you are researching the best long distance running attire, you need to focus on the task at hand! Accept where you are, which is <1 mile, and start practicing. Incremental change brings great personal change and growth. We are what we do every single day!
I have found this to be true in diet, exercise, relationships, and work. If I don’t bring consistency and humble acceptance of my lot, I don’t progress. Do you ever feel like this need for external validation can derail your goals? I would love to hear from you and to know I am not alone in this feeling of stagnation from time to time.
Day 16 of #my500words! Woo!