There are times in life where we would crave for validation; from friends, family, community.
In a recent progress test I just had, I was really disappointed. Disappointed that I made a careless mistake and that I was going to do badly for the test. Maybe I am being melodramatic here, but I felt useless. My inner voice kept screaming: “How can you make such a simple mistake, ARE YOU STUPID?”. It was in times like this, did my sense of self-worth was next to nothing (if you can even count self-worth). This was the time where I longed to be validated, to be told that it was a minor blunder and that it was okay.
Retrospectively, it was really silly of me. Mistakes and failures are part and parcel of life and it is through such experience would we improve as an individual. Relying on others isn’t a form of weakness, but constant dependence on others for validation may be a dangerous thing. It would be hard to break out of the cycle, once it becomes a habit – negative situation > feel upset > validation from others > getting more validation > feel better. Constant validation is deemed as dangerous because it would result in an individual’s worth being solely built upon the approval of others. As a result of that ‘dependency’, the individual may be exploited and manipulated by others who have ill-intentions.
So now to the next important question: ” Is there anything I can do about it?”.
- Awareness: The occasional need for assurance is human tendency, but the perpetual need for validation isn’t healthy. The awareness of knowing if one is in the latter category would aid in the goal of becoming an independent individual (being able to recover from setbacks with self-recovery skills).
- Acceptance: Setbacks and failures are common vicissitudes of life. There is no way avoiding it, and therefore we should learn how to embrace and overcome it. (From my personal experience, this may take some time for acceptance to sink it. Depending on the severity of the emotion/situation, on average I would need about 2 days – 7 days).
- Self-Validation: Learning to love oneself is an important aspect of one’s life. The notion of self-love can be found in many self-help books. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, your achievements and the value you have as an individual would greatly help in the recovery of one’s confidence.
In my next article on C O N F I D E N C E, I would like to share a part of my life before I entered UniSA and how it is different now.