I don’t do it terribly often, so hang on a second while I hoist myself up on top of my soap box…
I feel as though I have been waiting. Waiting for someone to blatantly identify within me that which I deeply hoped was present but was too terrified to utter aloud and only recently brave enough to concretely identify to myself: potential and the ability to render that potential a reality. Why is it that we upbraid ourselves for yearning for validation from others? Those remnants of collectivism inherent in our evolution as humans that modern America has striven to squelch by condemning the primal need as co-dependent and unhealthy. By petitioning the inhabitants of this country to continue to embrace and endorse the over-glorified, falsely-deemed sacrosanct ideal of individualism to the extent of repudiating anything that colors itself in a different shade, that questions ‘why’, and/or that dares critique The American Dream or whatever the hell that shit is supposed to mean (because let’s face it, shall we, that “dream” was based on the mindset of a population quickly becoming less of a majority as the years churn on, and a population who is now either revoking that dream from the eager and clutching hands of many an immigrant or is busy piling on addendum after addendum and restriction upon restriction in an effort to draw a deadline on an ideal). Oh, Proust, have I redeemed myself for Introduction to French Literature II? I’m sorry about the C and for those nasty things I said about your writing style. It certainly does come in handy on top of a soap box.
And what is this damnation of seeking validation from others but another attempt to compartmentalize and render society merely black and white? Only seek validation from within, for those without are in no position to provide accurate assessment. Oh really? Then how is it when someone tells us things that we desire we are eager as little children reaching for forbidden candy past bedtime to hear, and we listen with rapt attention, eating up every single word until our bellies ache in delight because of it? No. It is not that simple. It never was. It never will be. I think modern society is so eager to give us rules by which to abide so that we completely incapacitate any ability to critically think for ourselves and thus are left as prey to its ambition. As time has passed and we have learned more, life has become more complex, and we seek ways in which to simplify that which cannot be simplified because it’s just too damned messy for our impatient egos to deal with. It seems we take it as a direct reflection, ironically, of our own self-worth, intelligence, and value if we cannot solve every problem “quickly.” And the quantified translation of ‘quickly’ is determined by institutions like insurance companies, governmental committees, and (traitorously) higher-learning institutions. How is that any different from outside validation that we spend so much wasted breath and energy condemning? In seeking to simplify our lives and make ourselves feel better about our flaws (that most spend a life time denying exist or peering at curiously through rose-tinted lenses) – under the guise of becoming more autonomous and capable – we commit that very act from which we advocate abstaining: relying on others to provide us with reliable information about and assessment of ourselves.
Like so many other aspects of life, when seeking to determine one’s value or worth in any context, balance seems the best answer. Do not listen to everything others tell you, for they may be short-sighted, ignorant, or unintelligent. But do not ignore sound judgment and assessment when it presents itself in the words of honorable and attentive individuals who are wise, whatever their station, age, or background, because sages are often disguised and their lessons passed off as folly by the cowardly and self-consumed. Instead, listen attentively to both and then consult your Inner Self to weigh the grains of truth from each.
And so today, as I reflect on kind words spoken to me in encouragement and affirmation, I see them as added drops of water to a small pool that desires to become an ocean which laps gently, healingly on the shores of those who seek respite, peace, and wholeness. The water droplets are not all powerful, for the sun could easily render them separate and gaseous once more, but they serve as a reflection and blessing of what I have been working to cultivate within myself since before I can remember, mostly unknowingly and disregarding of destination. And therein lies great meaning.