My mother was so pissed when I opened my first Facebook account. At the age of eleven, I thought she was just paranoid. Eight years later, I understood her anger more. My take is that it wasn't about the ads, or obscene, and violent content that made her angry, it was the underlying need for validation.
As a GenZ, I've always thought my generation wants to be free, express themselves, and live without anyone's permission. But it breaks my heart to see that this generation takes more permission to live than any other generation prior. If you doubt this just think about how many posts, images, and views you have had to delete because it might not get a certain amount of likes, views, or the comparison you fear it might bring.
We live in a social media frenzy, where bright multi-talented individuals measure their self-worth by the number of likes, impressions, and followers they have on their respective social media accounts.
Just think about WhatsApp, how many times do you check who viewed your status updates? It gets so bad that even when something amazing happens to us, we only want to see how many people react to the "good news" before we subconsciously accept it's an achievement.
So it's a loop of not achieving for personal development, but achieving to be able to get more likes. Sick right?
Men of Antiquity studied to improve themselves; men today study to impress others.
Tao Te Ching
A matter worth the thought
Sometimes I wonder how this need for validation became ingrained in the human species. Did it start during the hunter-gatherer period of our ancestors? Where anytime someone got the food they had to share it with the family or troupe to avoid getting killed or during the agricultural revolution when societies started springing up and families had to stake a claim to the land and produce more food to get respect?
One deduction I like to make is that in both early periods of human history, Man did not like other men in his space, excluding family and communities. We are naturally social to the point of family and community and will defend that. That defense includes privacy in my opinion.
So where did the zest for allowing the whole world in our private space come from? Is it because of the warlike nature of humans to dominate? or the invention of social media coupled with the relative peace we enjoy in the modern era? I honestly don't know, but I assume that the need for validation is not inherent. I believe we want to keep our space as humans, so allowing others into our space through social media contravenes that.
It might also be a shift in the human psyche for global cooperation, or we think that the more space we allow others to see(The more social we are), the more space we get(The more followers and validation accrued).
I am not lambasting social media and validation at all. It can be entertaining, educating, depressing, inspiring, and addictive. It's like pizza, pick your slices.
Social media can also be financially worthwhile too and can be your efficient truth. I only get annoyed when I see people who do not need validation(If there are people who need it) chase goals that do not align with their priorities.
An efficient truth is what gets you closer to your life goals. If your goal is to become a very influential person through media, then spending time on social media is very necessary.
Efficient truths bring to our awareness that the strategies needed for happiness, and fulfillment starts with isolation. I don't mean going to a mountain and meditating for weeks, but knowing that all we need for joy and self-love is not chasing external validation but setting our priorities clear for our lives. Your path to joy, peace, self-love, and all that kumbaya lies with you alone, in isolation. No amount of validation-seeking can replace that.
Since our efficient truths are different, I am baffled when people try using the efficient truths of others. I have ideas, and creating those products and content around those ideas is what gives me joy. The thought of it lights up my world. I can't then be wasting my time, depressed over the fact that my blog post got 5 views.
This my friend is a wake-up call to find out the things that matter to you and do them. If validation is your efficient truth, then go for it. Set your priorities and achieve clarity.
Set your priorities and achieve clarity.
Efficient truth involves values, priorities, and mapping out what matters to you. Nothing more, nothing less. It gives you what I call the purest form of joy which is when your happiness is determined by your values and activities, instead of the achievements and recognition that come with it. To sum up, the effort is the reward.
...the effort is the reward...
There are two reasons I advocate for mapping your efficient truths in Isolation.
You find out through practice that nothing else can bring happiness except being confident in yourself.
Confidence in your person and the person you are becoming brings joy to the present and optimism for the future.
When you accept your limits, you go beyond them. I accepted long ago that I had narcissistic tendencies, craved external validation, and that this wasn't the life I wanted to live. If you cannot accept there is an issue, then this article will not do you much good. But if you do, these are my recommendations:
Take a social media break, or quit a lot of social media if you can. I mentioned social media a lot in this article because it represents the bulk of the desire for external validation. Don't expect to be on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and ten-plus social media apps, and expect to feel great in the long term, if it doesn't work. If social media is not getting you closer to your goals, don't you think it's worth quitting or at least taking a break?
Keep a gratitude journal for yourself. Thank yourself, and be grateful for yourself, you are the center of your life, and you are the reason for you crushing your goals, it's fundamentally you! That is isolation. You can easily be grateful for others when you are grateful for yourself.
Laugh at yourself. Stand in the mirror and smile at yourself. I don't know how, but this works.
This article might have gotten ideas mixed up, but the main message is to know that your happiness and joy in life are up to you alone. You can't do it by seeking external validation but only in isolation. Isolation is the process of mapping out what you want from life. It is the first and crucial step to start loving yourself and your life.
Please gift someone this article by sharing. Vielen dank.