Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Seeking Validation

Nearly everything we do on a daily basis is to seek the validation of others because there is a deeply rooted human need for love and acceptance.  Where this can become an issue is when we’re so insecure that seeking that validation comes in the form of purchasing things beyond our means to assert status and sacrificing our well being for acceptance.  If you think even about the little nuances of everything we do on a daily basis, this is true.  For example, take the person who diets on a regular basis but is afraid of the backlash they’ll receive in a social situation when they decline a drink or sugary birthday cake.  Out of a fear of social rejection, they self-loathingly imbibe to deal with a sense of dread the next morning or later that night in solitude.  They're torn with numerous puppet strings of insecurity now because they want to lose weight to look better in public but they don't want to feel ostracized by not eating because they want to project a complacent attitude that they eat what they want. 

At the end of the day, most people really don’t care what you eat, what you wear or how you act, so long as you're not personally harming them. (Read John Stuart Mills On Liberty) These people may come up as a topic of discussion or gossip amongst friends when said person is not present, but how that impacts our day to day well being is essentially moot, again so long as you’re not breaking serious social taboo and injuring the physical or emotional well being of others.  Most of us feel that a huge magnifying glass is aimed over our heads where people are analyzing and criticizing us, when in fact most people don’t care and are simply focused on their own insecurities and how they’re perceived by others.   

This has led to our culture of narcissism where we hope everything we post on social media is liked by others and enhances our perception. We’ve become addicted to little dopamine rushes of attention by text messages, pokes, likes, tweets that our brains have become wired differently where being alone scares us.  When you pull up to a red light these days, people simply can’t resist the temptation to check their phones for a new dopamine rush.  We all secretly admire that person who doesn’t seem to care what other people think, because we realize how liberating that must be when so much of our daily behavior is geared at crafting a particular image to be accepted by others.   

I’m not sure where this is leading other than my realization that doing things in solitude is cathartic (and necessary).  Although we have human needs for socializing due to our highly evolved social brains, there’s a sense of liberating euphoria during times of extreme solitude because there’s no judgment upon us.  My roadtrip last year made me realize a lot of this since I had to rely solely on myself and my decisions and my main worries were getting a flat tire, having enough water packed and what to do in case of an emergency, not whether people would notice I had a spaghetti stain on my collar from lunch and draw a conclusion that I was a sloppy eater. 

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