Life is a Hot Mess and We are All Looking for Validation
Raise your hand if you have fallen victim to browsing through Instagram, Facebook or any other social media platforms. I am guessing several of the things you saw made you instantly felt crappy about your own life. Why? Because you are looking at all the wonderful, seemingly effortless things the world is posting about. Newsflash here, everyone’s life is a hot mess and we are all looking for validation.
In fact, the reason why people enjoy posting all of those amazing dinners, perfect outfits or workouts accomplished is simple. We all crave validation. Society is telling us validation can not be achieved simply by working our way through this game of life. The heightened social awareness has caused people to strive to constantly be recognized for their very best. Can you imagine a world where you were judged based solely on your social media popularity? To me, that sounds like a Twilight Zone nightmare, one step away from talking Tina and the pig people. Imagine spending every waking minute that you are in the presence of other people. Now imagine having to keep up the image of perfection we filter, crop and hashtag online?
Perfection is Unsustainable
Take it from someone who has spent their life attempting to gain validation using a perfect persona 24/7. It isn’t sustainable. You will simply accomplish burning out and breaking down. I have dubbed this perfect, albeit false, sense of me as an “ultimate representative”.
Basically, it comes down to taking the idea of putting your best foot forward to an extreme level. It is human nature to dust ourselves off and spruce ourselves up before a major event. Think of your last first date, job interview, induction into the karate hall of fame.
However after the the first kiss, job offer, or awards ceremony, most people return back to the sustainable, realistic versions of themselves. We allow the things we purposely hid from the public eye during those major events come back out into the open.
Our everyday person contains our good parts, but also naturally contains some not so good parts. We are human after all, raised by imperfect people who in turn were raised by imperfect people, and so on. We can all agree that this cycle is as old as our very existence no matter how you believe man came to be.
A Shield to Hide Behind
At a very young age, even before I realized what I was doing, I created a permanent shield, an ultimate representative, to hide behind. I wanted people to only see the good parts of me at all times. The ones that I knew would not be rejected. If ever there was a situation where a piece of the “real me” peeked through, it made my life too uncomfortable to continue. More often than not, the response to my true self was not negative in any way, in fact it even bordered on actual validation!
Unfortunately, to add insult to injury, the facade of pathetic perfection has followed me from childhood straight through until about a year ago, and I am well into adulthood at this point. I worked tirelessly to always ensure that the things I did, opinions I voiced, or actions I took, were perfect and correct because only then would I allow myself to feel successful.
Wait, what? Successful? How on this green Earth could I, or anyone for that matter, think that my personal, intrinsic, success could be quantified by how other people saw me or they validation I perceived they were giving me for my actions? My personal success, as is yours, as is everyone’s, is determined only from within. Remember, I am not talking about career success, car success, or house success those are all material things. The way you feel about yourself, the you that you feel proud to show the world can only be decided upon within you.
Be warned, I am requesting that you do a little homework now. When you have some time, find a quiet place and flip through your past actions and memories. Rewind past all of your major life events where you would have displayed your regular representative and instead, focus on the everyday, how you handled the little things. What version of yourself did you show the world, the true you or only the best parts of you? How hard did you work in order to make other people happy so that their versions of you they saw appeared successful? Are you hiding behind your ultimate representative as I was?