What child is afraid of swing sets? This child, that’s who. I was afraid of the swings, I was afraid of the Big Slide, I didn’t venture into the “deep end” until I was 7 years old. I stayed the freak away from the monkey bars, and I wouldn’t play double-dutch jump rope in fear of being whipped in the face.
It’s not the failure per se but the loss of control. It’s the idea of being suspended in the air, in the water, no top, no bottom, nothing holding me up but sheer momentum and no control of grounding. It’s being caught in space and that idea of uncertainty. And when I have no control, when I am uncertain, I make up stories. I see the fall. I see drowning. I see the spiral downward.
I want help. I plea for help. A hand to hold and someone to spot me.
Validation is what we crave when we are unsure — of a moment, of our place, of ourselves. And to seek it out works in just the opposite way we want it to. We plead for Yesses and get bogged down in our Trys. We become so afraid, so unsure, so self conscious that we hinder ourselves from moving forward. Yet if our fear of falling short is the energy that we put out into the universe, why is it any surprise that we’re always feeling two steps behind?
Let’s not kid ourselves: it helps to be validated. Positive reinforcement. Who wouldn’t eat that up? We want to know that we are worthwhile. We want to know that we are okay. But when we actively seek validation, we become reactive instead of proactive. Our actions become an external comeback instead of an internal process.
We so desire to be loved and told we’re worthwhile. Because at the heart of the matter, to feel ineffective is a frightening thing. And when we don’t receive validation – or receive the exact opposite, criticism – we start to tell ourselves stories in order to exert control. We say we’re doing things all wrong, we start to feel as if we have something to prove.
My question is this: Prove what? We are alive. Here. In existence.
We are proven simply by existing.
We don’t need validation in order to be fully and wholly ourselves. That is our job. It’s the stories that trap us. Untangle the trap and recognize when you are telling yourself stories by flipping the narrative. Instead of acting and reacting out of fear and want, be proactive and productive out of love and need.
I still tell myself wild stories that I am caught without grounding in space, that I am thought ill of, that I am screwing up and that someone is onto me. That someone else is more qualified, more talented, more beautiful, more special and well-liked. Just More.
And when I tell myself these stories I take the drama, I take the romanticized truths in my head and I ask WHY. Turns out that the story I tell is usually rationally improbable. And that much of my story is actually rooted in a need to be validated; a surface-level reaction. A premonition that I might have something to be sorry about, just by being me. When the truth is that “being me” is the greatest asset I could ever have.
So swing high and dive deep. Take a stand and give yourself the credit you deserve. Trust your actions. Trust your intuition. Because we have everything we need, right here, right now.
Our validation – it’s in our existence.
I so needed this today (and in my life in general). The need for validation is paralyzing, because it keeps me from even acting in the first place. “Our validation – it’s in our existence.” Love it. Thanks!
So true – it can stop us in our tracks, simply because we’re unsure of the response we’ll get. So happy this could help you even if just a little. Thank you, Rachel!
Wow, this was such a great read Katie. “Validation is what we crave when we are unsure — of a moment, of our place, of ourselves. And to seek it out works in just the opposite way we want it to”- I’ve been there.