The slippery slope of seeking online validation

Validation is a slippery slope if your self esteem depends on it.

Trying to get validation on the web can be a soul-sucking endeavor.

We can spend hours posting beautiful pictures on Instagram, opinion-garnering questions in our Facebook status, or writing failure dramedy on our blogs in hopes of a new dopamine fix of likes, comments, responses or attention for our online personality pages. The sad part of the tale is we can get all the online affirmations we desire but if an emptiness still pervades us as we turn off our screens for the night, there’s a problem.

We’re not doing it for the right reasons.

Online validation is a slippery slope of self esteem propping. It’s an extrinsic, fickle measure of how much we matter and can easily be a rug pulled out from under us if we trust in it too much.

There’s this thing about instant gratification validation, it’s a dark truth, the more we go out and seek for it, the more it can evade us. Like the perfect wave for a rushed surfer, a rare bird for the restless bird watcher, a hit song for a bored song writer or a soul mate for the lonely heart.

The harder we squeeze our fist around it, the more we kill [approval, acceptance, love, popularity]’s ability to show up.

Just like that butterfly that you caught in your hand as a kid, and you were so excited and wanted to show your mommy, so you squeezed it in your tiny palms and ran around to show her, opened up and there it was-limp and dead. Strangled by your enthusiasm.

Why is it when we set out for attention and confirmation we don’t get it?

But then there’s a new paradigm that comes when we completely let go. When we show up just for the sake of showing up, as ourselves, no agenda, no desired outcome on our mind map.

When we get down and dirty authentic.

When we share a true, personal story or we jump into some uncomfortable place with courage, document rather than create, share our views bravely without fear of judgement or need for validation — there’s response. Authenticity shines through and resonates with hearts enough to cause true change.

We can’t craft words that work 100% of the time, but we can craft our internal state.

We can take time, get in the zone, we can open up to who we are and forget about the image we want to create.

And what does that state feel like?

  • Like when we can sit around the campfire staring up at a starry night and tell our truths, share our stories and listen to others.
  • or when we lie with our lover after a blissful encounter and let the words that sit on your heart flow out in abandon.
  • or when we struggle through the last 5 miles of a marathon and bravely face all the fears and doubts that fill our minds.
  • or when we sit at the bedside of a loved one, when they’re sick or even dying and we stare loss in the face and speak to them with deep honesty and strength because this could be our last chance.

We get raw, and let go of our masks and share our humanity because we realize it’s all we have to offer and the greatest gift we can give.

And we let go of the need for validation, and come from a deep place of baring our soul because that is the most validating experience, believing in the worth of our existence.