From the moment we were born, it is subconsciously ingrained into our minds that the only way one can validate their existence on this earth is to provide value to others. While this can be beneficial to the positive culture of making a difference in society, this model of validation does not always have the particular individual’s interest in mind. Within the message of giving back to help the world go round, we have, over time, created a set of standards that uphold whose existence is considered more important than others. For example, if a person’s body features match up to society’s beauty standards, they are more favored and validated. When you’ve been taught that what you give the world is not enough, how can someone justify their livelihood? This type of mentality is what causes our society to not accept or acknowledge that differences are not a negative thing. Just because something doesn’t contribute to the standards that were not put in place by the very individuals it excludes, does not mean that what they have is worthless.
What if you don’t want or have anything to offer the world that fits in the criteria? These psychologically crafted boxes create an unwanted hierarchy to divide the benefits of a free, loving, and joyful life and reward them to those deemed deserving. This benefits the consumeristic and capitalistic systems that feed off of the insecurities set in place by not meeting these standards. It can be difficult and challenging to conceptualize one’s identity especially when it is based on the validation of others. We are often told not to seek external validation but to focus on developing it inward. However, with so many messages around us making us care about how others view us, it is almost impossible to only get validation inside ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, crafting our place in this world as individuals is very much based on how the person sees themselves. It is a matter of balancing the knowledge of the self and the perceptions of ours.
Nowadays, self love is constantly pushed down our throats as mandatory and easily accessible. But not many conversations about self love talk about how our self esteem must start from what we think of ourselves in relation to what we’ve been told about ourselves and how much of that is warped by societal standards and obligations. So if we need both external and internal validation to feel good about ourselves, how does one create that balance? I believe the best way is to first cultivate your own standards. Rather than base your validation on whether or not you get multiple phone numbers at the end of the night, focus on the fact that you possess amazing qualities. Then you can think about the fact that these amazing qualities made people more interested in getting to know you better. It’s all about being realistic about who you are on your own terms and finding confidence in the fact that your existence is enough. You don’t need anything extra or different to be seen and respected. Validate yourself by saying to yourself everything you want others to say to you. Let your cup be three fourths full so that when you get a compliment or when you catch yourself measuring your worth, you have plenty of validation to draw from when you need it most.