Am I ok? How did I do? Have I earned your stamp of approval?
A common hunger for most humans is acceptance, validation, approval. I read everywhere “we need to let go of this urge for pleasing others or the requirement for their endorsement for the way we live, act, believe.”
Let’s discuss and explore this human need to seek validation and what it means to us spiritually.
I hear what the experts say: that too much people pleasing leads to not being our true selves or we end up doing things that contradict our values and beliefs or produces overwhelming, life sucking worry. At times, we do focus too much on approval and not what is important or live for someone else at the expense of our own identity. We live in an unhealthy world of approval addiction.
I get it. Yet we do all seek validation at times. How good it feels to be affirmed, loved, and accepted for ourselves. If I am completely honest, I deeply desire this validation.
I am learning to accept this part of myself as human and acknowledge that does motivate my behavior at times. I am being kinder to myself in recognizing this urge as normal, but not giving it power to drive my attitude and actions. Seeking validation isn’t a “bad” thing; it is a natural way to act and to react.
Learning More about Seeking Validation
I love listening to podcasts and one I have enjoyed lately is the Suitcase Entrepreneur Natalie Sisson. Her insights, fun and adventurous ideas and New Zealand accent accompany me on many of my morning walks.
A few weeks ago she shared her thoughts after hearing a live presentation by Oprah. You can listen to her broadcast here and read her show notes.
At about 6:50 minute mark on her broadcast, Natalie tells how Oprah shared the story about how she interviewed more than 37,000 people and has come to realized every single person has the same thing in common – all want validation. She gave the illustration of interviewing women in prison for killing their own children who at the end of the session with them all would ask “Was that ok?”
Oprah talked with presidents and important world leaders who as the camera stopped, would check in by asking her “How did I do? Was I good?”
Oprah concluded they weren’t really asking, “How did I do?” They were asking, “Did you hear me? Do you understand me?”
Interesting, isn’t it? Since I listened to this podcast, I have been more aware of my need to be heard and the need of those around me to have someone really listen to them.
I am probably oversimplifying this, but wouldn’t many of the world’s problems be reduced if we sought first to understand before disagreeing between others, between countries, between religions and political beliefs? Most arguments really stem from not being heard.
What if in 2016 we step aside our ego and offered acceptance to the person in front of us? Instead of judgment, give validation. We listen.
How Seeking Validation Affects Our Spiritual Life
How does this human trait of seeking validation affect us spiritually? Is this part of the deep God hunger we all encounter?
One of the most profound experiences I have had in the second half of life, is the healing of who I am. I am a Child of God. He loves me unconditionally and accepts me as I am. I am validated with his stamp of approval.
I knew this in my head, could say in with my tongue but it has taken a lifetime for this concept to embrace and be enfolded in my heart. This doesn’t give me freedom to run amok, to sin wildly, to do what I know is wrong – but to live this human adventure my soul is experiencing, knowing I am validated by God as his child, a person in progress.
I don’t need to ask God – Am I ok? How did I do? Have I earned your stamp of approval?
I am already enough in his eyes.
I am his.
God knows me.
God accepts me.
God loves me.
My human need to validation is fulfilled in and with God by his grace and love.
God is the one Person who is wholly other-centered.
He made us in his image and delights in us.
He stubbornly loves us even when we are unlovable.
If that’s not validation, I don’t know what is.
I know I have rambled today, but think sometimes it is fun to take something you hear – like a conversation about validation – and chew and digest its words and meaning to our walk with God.
I would love to hear your thoughts about the human need to seek validation and how it affects you spiritually.