The Need for Validation

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“Show them I’m worthy, and while I show them, I’ll show me!”

“I Have Confidence”, The Sound of Music.

There are lots of Julie quotes that I will advocate using as words to live by…this is not one of them. A lot of the things I struggle with as a performer (and human) boil down to the fact that I want validation. I want other people to tell me I’m talented/kind/attractive or a good singer/actress/daughter/sister/wife/friend/teacher etc… but even when they do, I find it hard to believe them. Very often, my internal monologue includes well-known taunts such as ‘You’re not good enough’/’You’ll never make it’/’You need to work harder’/’You really screwed that up’. Can you relate?

I’m a good girl, I am. I was always the goodie-two-shoes/swot/prefect type at school…I like getting gold stars and A-grades. I beat myself up when I don’t meet my own ridiculous standards or feel like I have presented a bad version of myself to a colleague/employer/random person on the street.  When things go my way… when I get a job or someone pays me a compliment…I struggle to feel worthy. 

For me, it just doesn’t work to sing ‘I have confidence’ on repeat in my head in order to deal with my daily doubts. The lyrics are all about making others see ‘I have confidence in me’. I’m learning, slowly, to flip the sentiment and not look to others for reassurance and validation. I have come to realise that waiting for approval/qualification is the most powerful way of stalling creativity, work and living a full life. I admire those who share their talents without measure.

Once again, I have to point to the research and writing of Brené Brown. I’ve found her message of warts-and-all self-acceptance a useful reminder for me:

“No matter how much I get done, or is left UNDONE, at the end of the day,

I am enough”

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