On the validity of life….

“It’s not like I subsist on external validation; but it is nice to get it from time to time.” – me

For a long time, I think I did subsist on external validation. It was like I had to hear from someone else that I was good enough or smart enough in order to really believe it for myself. It took a good long while (and some counseling) to finally start believing that I was good enough simply because I thought I was good enough.

Still though…it’s nice to hear it every now and again. I think if we’re all honest with ourselves, we all like to heard how good or smart we are at something, especially the things that are important to us. It’s part of being human, I suppose. The feeling of knowing we’re valued holds a lot of weight with us. We’re emotional beings; some of us wear emotions openly (I’m that person most of the time) and some of us can hide them, but at the end of the day, we all feel the emotions brought on by life.

Our day jobs are probably one of the biggest places we need to feel validated and worth it. We pursue more education and designations for our own well-being, sure, but we also pursue it in an effort to be noticed by the people that matter (read: the people that can increase our paycheck and our titles). We spend the majority of our time at our day jobs, so it becomes part of who we are. And knowing that we’re contributing to the overall growth of our company or business is something that a lot of us want to be a part of. Sometimes, that external validation falls flat…we simply aren’t recognized or rewarded. And that SUCKS. It just does.

The problem is when that lack of validation starts to permeate the rest of our life. We are more than our work. Despite how hard a lot of us work at our jobs, we are more than just designers and programmers and paper pushers and analysts. I’ve noticed, for myself, that a lack of validation in one area of my life can start to drastically affect the rest of my life. If I’m not a good “x”, then I must not be a good “y” or “z.” I mean, it’s not true, but the feelings happen. It’s in those moments that a) I am glad I have friends who will validate me and b) it’s time to take stock of things I am good at and that I love to do. I’m good at baking (I’m REAL good at baking); I throw a mean party; I’m organized (almost to a disturbing degree). I am a sum of very many parts; just because one part doesn’t always feel right doesn’t mean the rest aren’t exactly as they should be.

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