Today I’m sharing my thoughts on the search for validation and acceptance, as well as how feedback from others effects our measurement of self-worth.
Why is life consumed by a quest for acceptance? Last night I attended a fun social event for Connecticut bloggers and brands. I spent a week planning my outfit and one too many hours mentally preparing for the occasion. WHY would I mentally prepare for such an event? I’m a social butterfly by nature, but very insecure when I know who people are but am aware they don’t exactly know me. As a way to cope with my insecurities, I talk too much, make awkward jokes, and probably smile too hard.
How I search for Validation
Over the last few years I’ve grown more aware of my behavior in social settings. It’s embarrassing how I search for validation and acceptance everywhere I go – from the grocery store to family parties. It’s normal though, to want my achievements, choices, ideas and opinions validated by those around us. After all, we seek approval from our parents for our accomplishments from birth. But WHY are we as a society so obsessed with using validation as a tool for measuring self-worth?
We live in a world where its become normal to spend every day seeking validation from others. Whether it’s a smile, thumbs-up, or “good job!,” the level at which we measure our own worth is based off of the reaction of someone else. Our society has normalized the use of social media to measure success and popularity, which in turn establishes self-worth.
A simple LIKE on Instagram or Thumbs Up on Facebook means way more than it should. As a blogger, I try to squash my desire to be recognized by complete strangers on the internet, but it’s unavoidable since a blogger’s success is defined by statistics. And in return, I measure my self-worth in the same manner.
How We Should Actually Measure Self Worth
In an article for Psychology Today, Amy Morin, L.C.S.W., a psychotherapist, explains how we measure our self worth in the most unreliable way. Unbeknownst to us, self-worth relies on feedback from others regarding our appearance, career, salary, or who we know. These factors and external events in our life are truly out of our control though. Instead of measuring self worth using validation from our peers, we should use factors we can control. Instead of chasing things that temporarily boost your self-esteem, measure your self-worth by who you are at your core.
At my core, I am friendly, realistic, empathetic, hard working, and dependable. I am loving, flexible, passionate and emotional. Like everyone else, I have flaws I can accept and imperfections I wish I could change. Is it WRONG to desire people know who I am on inside instead of what they see from the outside?
I woke up today with a new purpose in life and a quest to forget the moments I feel insignificant. We only get one life to live that we shouldn’t spend it seeking validation and acceptance from others. Instead, I want to embrace all that is wonderful, let go of my insecurities, and work on measuring my self-worth on my own terms. And no one else.
Caitlin Houston is a Connecticut based life and style blogger.