Validation From Others: How Dangerous Can It Be?

Hey friends!

How’s it going?

I am tired with a capital T. Like so so tired. It’s crazy too, because I feel like I’ve gotten to bed early than I have been, and I’ve been clocking more hours, but dannnggg coming up on the 3rd tri (this week!), is already kicking my butt.

But otherwise I feel pretty darn good.

*****

I’ve had some thoughts swirling around in my head about this, and so I’d thought I share.

Validation from Others: How Dangerous Can it Be?

Validation: aka approval. In the social sphere, it is also known as “social proof” and is a type of conformity.

These days there are mannnyyyy ways to seek & receive validation from others. Any time we blog, facebook, instagram, tweet, post a picture, etc. we are seeking validation. Whether we know it, want it, or not, that is exactly what happens.

Comments (good or bad) can be a form of validation. How many “likes” we get? Form of validation.

It’s a way of people saying “I like it/you/your picture/etc.” And I’m not going to lie, it can be a fun mood booster to know 45 people like your picture.

I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with wanting to hear/see others’ approval. It’s kind of fun to check on a photo that you took & see that other people like it too.

And, it’s kind of fun to be validated that your dessert looks as amazing as it tastes. Or that you look as cute as you feel, etc. That IS fun, for sure.

But I am disappointed in myself when I realize I sometimes feel less ‘cool’ when I don’t get as many likes, comments, etc on something I post when I thought it was good material. What is up with that?! Why does that make me feel like that sometimes?

Why should we ever feel like our update/post/picture isn’t ‘good’ enough simply because we didn’t get as many likes or comments as we thought we should’ve? And what does this mean about me?!

I am human. duh. So yes, I do feel these things. It’s not an overwhelming problem or issue, but I wonder if you guys/others feel similarly too?

{I am human…I mean, I take selfies in the bathroom?! of all places, really… :) }

validation

Am I the only one who feels slightly more or less validated based off of likes/comments?!?

{and if so, I can go crawl in a hole now….. hehe} :)

Makes me wonder what we did before all this social media…..

Another thought: At what lengths will we go to get validated by others’? And how will it affect our self-esteem & what we decide to eat, do, and take pictures of?

To be honest, I don’t really feel driven to post certain content/pictures/status updates because of what others’ are posting, so I am not influenced in that way really, but I definitely do notice when something I do online gets a lot of likes/comments or NOT.

Am I really that shallow?

Once again, nothing is wrong with interacting with others’ on social media platforms, but I definitely don’t love it when I notice myself caring too much about how many likes/comments I get. That’s just silly! And can be kind of damaging.

So I’ve simply backed off–and it’s been great for me!

But the real question remains: HOW dangerous is it to seek & desire such social validation from others?

I think these are some nice markers to recognize of it being taken too far:

  • if it influences self-esteem in a negative way
  • if it makes you feel less ‘worthy’
  • if it goes against your standards or morals by posting that comment/picture/status –but you do it anyway b/c you want to be ‘liked’
  • if it is something you’d be embarrassed to share with a parent
  • if it is making you seem better than you really are
  • if it is misleading on purpose (to achieve a certain purpose)
  • if it goes against who you really are

These are simply thoughts I had on this–and the markers are ones that I try to use for myself.

I really only need to be validated by two beings-and for me, that is my Heavenly Father and my Savior. I know They love me. That I am a daughter of God and that I AM good enough. So when I am in that space, I am less likely to care about social media likes/etc.

{source}

I think I’ve simply discovered for myself that I need time with Them to feel my best, simply because They remind me who I really am-and thus, I end up not needing to seek out approval of others.

{source}

*****

Well, thanks for the reading the novel of my thoughts!

p.s. happy birthday to my little nephew!

Alright, I am off to work! Have a GREAT day! <3

Would LOVE to hear YOUR thoughts on this!?

Do YOU feel similarly-or not??! How does validation from others’ change/alter YOUR self-esteem or content??! What is dangerous about this do YOU think??

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Comments

  1. i do feel similarly unfortunately. but sometimes i blame the time i post a photo on how many likes i get. ha great excuse right? lol.

  2. Gina G says:

    Hi Annette! I’m a new(er) reader and first time commenter (LOVE your blog). I definitely fall into this same trap. I actually got rid of my facebook about two months ago because I felt like it was bringing more negativity into my life than positive. How did it work out? Best decision ever. I know it is sad that I had to get rid of something because it was hurting my self esteem, but it is something I felt I needed to do. I honestly do not miss it all and it no longer weighs on me trying to be ‘liked’ (pun intended haha) and approved by others. Life is too short and His opinion is the only one that matters. :) Amazing post once again!

    • Thanks girl, for reading & for your comment. <3 You're SO right, and that is so cool that you got rid of your FB. Impressive!

  3. Totally get what you’re saying here, and I appreciate you opening up about your feelings/thoughts about it all too! Just one of the many reasons I love ya! 😉

  4. I feel the EXACT same way and have been thinking about this a lot lately as I reflect on a Bible study I’m doing! Also, in my “real life” (not just on the internet), I feel like I make decisions because they will please others or don’t voice my opinion because I don’t want to upset others. I’m really working on making decisions and doing things to please God because I know that He is really all that matters and His approval is really want I should be seeking. Thanks for posting :) Perfectly timed for me!

  5. Totally know where you’re coming from with this – I think that people (including myself) absolutely feel validated by responses to social media/blogging. Whenever I post something that doesn’t seem to get a lot of reactions, I wonder whether or not I should be posting on that topic. And instagram – I’m always happier when I get more comments/likes, and I know I’m not the only one. Hell, one of the tags I see pretty frequently is #30likes, #50likes, that sort of deal – so people really are just asking for likes, likely as a way to validate what they’re posting. So no, you’re definitely not the only one 😉

  6. Kaitlyn says:

    I can relate to you 10,000% here!!!! In fact, I often wondered if I was alone in my feelings. I used to blog, and one of the reasons that I stopped was because i realized that I was becoming wayyyyy toooo obsessive over how many comments or page views I was getting. I think unfortunately social media has contributed to society’s “need” to constantly seek approval from others. I completely agree with you that there are many, many good things that can come out of using social media, but it’s important to be aware of the negatives/pitfalls as well :) thanks for an awesome post!!! Love it! Have a great day, Annette!

  7. I think this is something that I have struggled with since I was a wee one and probably will until the day I die. Every time I feel like I’m trying to be validated, I stop and I pray. I know that it doesn’t matter who I am to anyone else as long as I am acceptable and pleasing to my Lord.

  8. Great, thought-provoking topic! It bothers me sometimes that I go back and check to see how many likes/comments I am getting on things. It shouldn’t matter! But it does, to a certain extent, or I wouldn’t be doing it, right? The biggest thing that worries me is kids growing up with all this–how can they not tie their self-esteem into the like game when it’s all they are going to know? Something that as a mom I will be working hard on with both my kids as they enter that age/era.

    • I know….that is such a hard thing that kids/parents have to deal with. I think being a good example of healthy self esteem is going to be most important (IMO), and Who matters most. <3 have a good one!!

  9. This is great, Annette! I often feel like I use the number of likes, comments, etc. to validate or truly “know” how good a post or a photo or a tweet is when that shouldn’t be the case at all! I post what I want and what makes me happy which is the most important thing :)

    • It is kind of silly of us, huh?? Sounds like you’re pretty good at simply posting what YOU love/want to post. Good for you!! <3

  10. I def feel similarly at times. The first 2 markers are the not so good side of validation that I feel most often. Not all the time but unfortunately it does happen. Validation is right up there with the comparison trap!!

  11. I agree wholeheartedly. It feels great to get approval and validation from others, and often times I seek it, without even meaning to. But in the end, does it really matter? Oftentimes, I put WAY too much weight on other’s opinions. All that matters is that I’m more loved than I can ever imagine by Christ. How comforting to be able to rest in that. Now…if I can just remember it…. 😉

  12. Guilty as charged. Despite the many benefits I see in blogging the steady pursuit – consciously or not – is a downside. I’m not blaming readers, though, but myself being genereally dependent on others’ opinion. Even in “real” life I usually try to please others but when it comes to blogging it might be a little more accelerated. That’s not to say I was posting anything completely untrue to myself or embarrassing but I need to remind myself that not getting many comments or likes at times isn’t a personal judgement. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I’ll keep those markers in mind.

    • You’re welcome! And so so true–it is ‘accelerated’ with blogging & social media, so being careful with it & ourselves is key :)

  13. I can totally relate! You certainly aren’t the only one. I remember when we didn’t have the internet and no one had cell phones. What did we do before all this social media?!?!! However, I’m forever grateful for it otherwise we wouldn’t have met! xoxo

  14. girl you took the words right out of our mouths 😉 we are guilty of this! it is hard sometimes not to over think about getting ‘social’ approval or validation from others. we try to take a step back and really think about things- the bigger picture. try to tell ourselves that we are worth it even if we did not get a lot of likes or comments. we keep our head up and move on. it can be sad we admit how often we find ourselves thinking those thoughts you mentioned! crazy social media haha

  15. Love this- you are so right! There is a real danger there. I try not to pay too much attention to Instagram likes for this very reason. So glad you wrote a post about it!

  16. So true! Yes, I have found myself upset if something did not get enough “likes” or comments. I can see how someone could go off the deep end trying to get approval, social media has done these people no favors, it only makes the problem worse. Backing off is a great way to find your center again, but completely disconnecting does not seem realistic either. It’s certainly an issue, one that was there before social media, and I think it’s an even larger one now.

  17. I completely agree with everything you’ve said in this post! I often fall victim to letting others control my sense of self or sense of happiness, when it should really come purely from within. I think this can really play a part in both the real world and the blogging world. It’s definitely something I need to keep checking in with myself about and make sure I’m blogging for the right reasons.

  18. Annie C. says:

    It was SO weird when I read this! I had been thinking about this exact thing because a person I know writes so many mush gushy fb posts to her boyfriend. It feels uncomfortable reading them. One- becuase he doesn’t comment or like and nor does anyone else.
    I thought, aren’t these thoughts supposed to be between the two of you? It cheapens it somehow to blast it all over social media.
    After reading what you wrote, it hit me, she is looking for validation of her feelings and their relationship.
    Some people really will go far for validation! Thanks for a thought provoking blog post!

    • I bet that is completely what she is doing–good point! And it makes me sad too that people will go so far to try & get validated.

      thanks for your comment!

  19. Tailar says:

    Just read this post and LOVED it! So funny because my girlfriends and I have been discussing this A LOT lately and we have been talking about it in church small group, its just such an important think to remind ourselves of to keep our minds and hearts in check! Thanks for another great post:)

  20. First time reader (via Bean Bytes) and so happy that I came across this post/your blog. Truly wonderful insight! Being new to the blogging world, sometimes I do doubt myself and abilities based on likes/amount of readers etc. But I continue to remind myself to be confident and if no-one else “likes” it then that’s okay :)

  21. Phoebe says:

    i love this post – and FYI, i’m sure tons of people drop by and just didn’t leave a comment. I’m a guilty one =P a faithful daily reader who is too lazy to say hi. my bad lol :)

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