Living With The Constant Need For Validation

Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash

Things have changed recently, although not everything. I’ve come to a realisation about myself— I constantly seek validation. In the ever-changing landscape of my life, a profound revelation has taken root within me: a constant quest for validation. Just a few nights ago, I had a conversation with my mother, admitting my tendency to gravitate toward endeavours where I excel, all the while neglecting those that challenge me. Deep down, I understood that this avoidance was rooted in an insatiable hunger for validation, a craving that echoed through my every pursuit.

Take my journey in journalism, for instance; despite earning a first-class honours degree, doubts plagued my mind as recognition from peers and professors eluded me. Imposter syndrome, that relentless inner critic, whispered in my ear even as I grasped my award. Similarly, my passion for art dimmed after a harsh critique from a high school art teacher at the tender age of fifteen. Years later, I mustered the courage to pick up the pencil once more, defying the echoes of past criticism.

But why this unyielding need for validation? Instagram tells me it is because I am an Aquarius or the fact that I am an older sister, but I believe it’s woven into my very essence. Since my last article, I have had more of a social life, and tried to start a healthier lifestyle, emphasis on tried. Moreover, an exciting opportunity has emerged: a genuine, paid position in journalism. Will this mark the end of my battle with imposter syndrome?

Despite my academic triumphs, the title of a journalist never quite felt like my own. I often questioned my abilities, especially amidst the cutthroat competitive atmosphere at university. Yet, I stand at the precipice of change, determined to alter my tune. I’m coaxing myself to believe that this nagging imposter syndrome is merely a figment of my imagination.

My wise mother once shared a simple yet profound insight: “Maybe you’ll find new friends at this job.” Initially dismissed as trivial, her words struck a chord. The friendships that once defined my university years have dwindled, leaving an emotional void. Could new connections at work bridge this gap? The question tugs at my heart, evoking a sense of melancholy and self-reflection. However, I do believe that ‘friends’ is a strong word.

In reality, I find myself coasting through life, awaiting the call of South Korea, a place that beckons my soul. However, this new job opportunity has thrown a wrench into my plans. Now that I’ve bid adieu to my role at McDonald’s, I’ve found myself entangled in a complex situation. And amidst the chaos, a nagging thought lingers: did I take this job because they validated my journalistic skills and marketing ability in the interview? It might seem irrational, and I’m fully aware of it. But it’s a compulsion I can’t shake off.

Amid my internal struggle, I’ve come to accept that my longing for validation doesn’t make me weak; it makes me human. We all crave acknowledgment, but the key lies in acknowledging oneself first. With every step, I am learning to value my efforts, regardless of the accolades they receive. It’s a process, a gradual unfurling of confidence that begins from within.



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