Posted by C. J. Ortiz on February 03, 2014
Since you and I were children, we’ve searched for two things: value and acceptance. Whether you are male or female, our view of ourselves is determined by value and acceptance. To sum it up in a single word, we are on a quest for validation.
When something is valid, it’s accepted because it’s value is believed. For example, “Is that a valid driver’s license?” Or when you validate a parking ticket, the owner of the parking lot waives the parking fee because your parking ticket represents the value of the cost to park. It’s acceptable.
The ultimate source of acceptance and value was to come from your parents. Both mother and father represent the starting point that determines whether your life is considered valid. Are you worthy to be loved? Are they glad you’re here? Do they believe you’re worthy of a bright future?
If you don’t receive such validation from your parents, then you’re sure to seek it out on your own; but because you’re ignorant—as a child—of how to properly do that, you end up doing it destructively.
But what if you didn’t receive that validation? What if your sense of acceptance and value were distorted by a guilt-imposing mother or a father who was never there, or didn’t give a damn about you? Since your need for validation never goes away, how do you go about gaining it?
It’s not enough to say, “I don’t care if I’m accepted,” because you actually do. It’s inescapable. It’s also not enough to say, “I’m valuable,” when there’s no evidence of such. To blow sunshine up your own ass by saying, “I’m worth it,” and yet your mind and life are in shambles, is nothing more than self-help bullshit.
You’re in that lousy marriage because you wanted validation. You chose a career you didn’t want because you were looking for value. You’re acting the way you are because you’re seeking some kind of social acceptance from those around you. Stop lying to yourself and own up to the fact that you want your value to be believed.
The drive for success and achievement is one way people seek validation, but it’s a distorted and unhealthy way to do it. Accumulating riches and goals will never satisfy your soul, because the problem is not validation based upon achievement. The only true and lasting validation is when your value is determined by what you give.
This is why I define success as “maximizing your resources for a purpose greater than yourself.” Your resources are your gifts, talents, abilities, passions, and personal property. Everything that you are and possess are the resources you must use to serve a purpose greater than yourself.
You only acquire value and acceptance when you use your resources to truly serve others or make a difference in the world. My own personal striving for achievement is wholly based upon the fact that I’m selflessly serving others and contending with the evil that I find around me. To be both a shepherd and a warrior represent the two-edged sword that I’m using to disembowel my short time in world history. This is what brings satisfaction to my soul.
If your childhood sucked, then don’t seek validation from a boyfriend or husband. Don’t exhaust yourself for an expensive house and car. Don’t turn yourself inside out so a group will think you’re cool. Maximize who you are for a purpose greater than yourself. Anything less is not believable, and you cannot have true validation without a value that is believable.
To hell with your crazy parents. If they messed up, then so be it. You can’t change the past, but can certainly alter your future. However, you won’t get there until you stop the pity party and turn your whining into work.