Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Please punch my validation...

If you don't change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. ~ Douglas Adams

With the inevitable life review ushered in by a new year, I’m reminded all too strongly that I can’t expect my life to change if I don’t change my attitude. The insanity of continuing old patterns of behavior yet looking for new outcomes looms large, and while I talk a good talk about changing my habits, when it comes down to actually performing, I stumble.

Instead of writing or tending to any of the several projects stacked in file folders on my desk, I wasted invested twenty minutes or so this morning taking an online personality test of sorts, this one called PersonalDNA. The results didn’t surprise me: empathetic, introverted, trusting, preferring experiences over things and small groups of close friends over large crowds. My assigned label of “considerate experiencer” is a bit odd, but I suppose the site needs to offer something unique.

The irony of this seemingly benign entertainment hit me only a few minutes later, as I mulled my continuing penchant for procrastination. Why had I spent that time answering ambiguous questions in hopes a computer program could tell me something new about myself? Once again I was looking for outside validation, this time in the nebulous “personality” arena as opposed to my usual anxieties over my writing. I’m always waiting for someone else to tell me I’m on the right track, that I’m worthy of – something, anything. That insidious need for approval is holding me back and I’m tired of it, but I can’t seem to break free.

I fill my desktop with aphorisms like “What other people think about you is none of your business” and “You wouldn't worry so much about what other people thought if you realized how seldom they do,” but I remain mired in self-doubt. Awareness of my crippling dependency on the acceptance of others doesn’t make my escape any easier, although I maintain awareness of any addiction – and that’s what this is, an emotional addiction seeded in the murky past – is half the battle. Unfortunately, the other half, the skirmishes I face every time I send out a short story only to have it rejected, or turn to a friend for counsel only to be brushed aside, don’t seem to diminish even as that awareness grows. Such dismissals only reinforce the niggling voice that says I’m not good enough.

That voice echoed all night and kept me awake more than usual as I replayed an evening spent in another search for validation of my feelings. After a weekly writers group, I’d only half-jokingly demanded Hubby provide answers to a vexing relationship issue I’d faced. He likes to fix things, so he tried, but ultimately we both knew the solution had to come from within me. His validation was accurate, and not unexpected, and offered with love. But I still needed someone to tell me what I already knew. I simply don’t trust my own judgment enough to ignore naysayers with private concerns and personal agendas.

Hubby knows me better than anyone else does, and certainly better than any online quiz. I should listen to him when he tells me to believe in my “considerate experiencer” self as much as he does.

His is the only validation I really need, while I figure out how to accept my own.


  1. It's such a gift to have someone you can trust so much in your life. I hope you figure out how to accept your own validation, though I can certainly sympathize with the difficulty of it.

  2. You have grown as a writer. You said as much yourself last night. You will find a publisher who values you! I wouldn't know what to do without you as a writing buddy! I just wish we could get together more often. Everyone wastes at least 20 minutes a day. Don't get down on yourself. Now, I'm going to go read a bit more of Fatal Error!

  3. If we can but hold each other up long enough for others to acknowledge our greatness, we will all achieve so much more. Or something like that. Self-doubt can be good, but if you let it stifle your expressiveness, you hurt yourself. Be proud of who you are and what you do, for you do so much for others. Writing, like most creative outlets, is subjective.

  4. In reviewing my post, I find it comes across even more plaintive than I first realized. I truly did not intend to beg for compliments, only to work through the inner obstacles that have hounded me for so long. But as usual, my writing pals have come through to point the way.

    Thank you all for the kind words and support!

  5. What a very open and honest post. I'm very Jekyll/Hyde when it comes to self validation. One day I believe in myself...the next I'm wondering why I accepted the lies. A very tough nut to crack! :)

  6. Tough indeed, but we need to keep at it...the days we succeed are worth the struggle! Thanks for understanding.


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