I was reading an aspiring writer’s profile when I was struck by the answer she had given to the question of why she wished to join a critique group. It was a mere one-word response, yet it struck me as incredibly profound; so much so, I imagined a light bulb appeared above my head announcing my epiphany.
Her stated reason for joining: validation. Although she believed her writing to be good, she sought the consensus of others to reaffirm that belief.
No matter how much we hold ourselves in high esteem, self doubt lingers. Even when we know how good we are, we require the validation of others to make it real. Recall Sally Fields’ earnestly modest 1984 Oscar acceptance speech: “You like me; you really liked me.”
It occurred to me, everyone needs validation. We need it from another person – a lover, a friend, an employer. We need it from society. And it finally explains why people post all those inane or pithy posts on Facebook and wait for the “likes” or comments to appear underneath: they need, and receive, validation online via the Internet.
Feel free to validate below.