Do I really need you to 'VALIDATE' me?
Here's my first one for 2020! What better than the Leap day of the Leap year!
For the longest time, I have wanted to write a piece on 'validation'. Finally collecting my thoughts today to share on 'validation'.
Growing up in India, I was constantly surrounded by a culture that judged me. From the time you are born till probably you die, you are constantly judged. This so called 'judging' of people does exist in other countries and cultures too, but as always I can only affirm for the culture I come from and from my own lived experiences. In India, like others I was told how to sit, how to walk, what to wear, what not to wear, who to talk to, who to take care of etc. This constant set of instructions does something to your thought process & you start believing in its truth as it is constantly hammered on you. I am not going to say that only girls are given these instructions but yes, in India, probably there are more instructions for a girl than a boy. I have grown up to see that even boys are told how to behave, how to be responsible, how to take the lead as a head of the family etc.
When you are given instructions to do everything, you are obviously told about repercussions that will occur if you don't follow or do those things. Like, if you don't wear 'Indian' clothes at a religious ceremony then probably you will not come across as someone who is religious or if you are with a 'boy' who is your friend, alone in your own house, then probably you are bringing shame to your family! The Indian society is one that constantly judges you for fitting or not fitting into specific check marks and boxes.
When this is the way your brain is trained to work or you are taught to function, I think you just learn to put weight on what others opinion is about you. To elaborate on what I am trying to say, let me use an example. If I am taught that I will look beautiful only if I am visibly thin, then I will start to believe that if I am a larger size, I am not beautiful. Also, in addition I am told that others will not find me beautiful if I am not visibly thin. Hence, I constantly keep depending on other's opinion of me- 'Am I visibly thin to them or of a Larger size to them?' This whole circle of wanting validation from others about your own self is extremely toxic. It is totally flawed as what others think of me is subjective and it simply depends on the other person and what shapes that other person. Meaning how I see someone is dependent on how I am as a person and what my life has been growing up. To me size or the way someone looks may not be of detriment in knowing them as another human being but for someone, the outer appearance may matter more. Hence, I say that the circle of 'Validation' of you from others is toxic and it damages your mental health to a great extent.
As much as lack of 'validation' can affect your emotional stability or your mental health per-say, ironically 'validation' in form of affirmations, is equally important as well! Imagine if you are taught the exact opposite of what I am talking about. If I was NEVER told to behave a certain way or sit a particular way or told I will be only beautiful if I am a specific size, & no one was taught to judge anyone, then validation wouldn't be required. Only positive affirmations would have worked for the wellbeing of my mental health.
I want to break this stereotypical circle of seeking validation from others about myself! I want to be able to trust my own self in anything. If I feel something is right or wrong, I want to be able to take my own decision without wanting validation from others around me and without others around me telling to seek their validation! This is extremely challenging because you firstly have to make an extreme effort to unlearn years of what you have been taught to do.
I hope this intrigued you to think on how 'validation' works in your own life. All of us have our own place in this 'validation' circle and spreading its toxicity. Next time you want to believe what others opinion is about you, take time to reflect & reason why their opinion about you even matters?
The next time you make a comment about someone else that is judgemental in nature, reflect on how you are positioning yourself in spreading the toxicity of such comments on the other person! Each one of us is unique and different. A comment validating me might have different toll on my mental health than you!
So don't judge me if your brain is going there next for writing this piece because "Do I really need you to 'VALIDATE' me?"