We were each born with an inherent need to be accepted. Maybe this need is an intricate part of our DNA. Whereas the more we are liked, the more alliances we have. And, the more alliances we have, the bigger our network. But, how much validation do we need?
Since the age of technology, it seems as if our need for validation has increased. We used to seek approval from our family, friends and loved ones. But, with the launch of social media, we find ourselves looking for validation from people we don’t even know.
Our validation-meter is completely out of sync. Before Instagram stories and Snap Chat, the love and appreciation we received came from things like a job well done. Today, however, our validation comes from the number of likes we get from posting an epic picture, in the perfect location, with the right lighting.
How Much Validation Do We Need?
The amount of validation we used to require before social media has gone from zero to thirty. For instance: A person with a healthy self-esteem could get by with an approval rating of five. Meaning, on a scale of one to ten, they could get by with a maximum of five people validating them. Alternatively, a person with a low self-esteem could get by with having 10 people in their lives that validated them. However, today both groups need for validation has increased so drastically, there are more egocentric /narcissistic people than there have ever been. And, how do these unrealistic mindsets affect our relationships? Let’s take a look:
Prior to social media relationships were influenced by television, magazines, and chick flicks. Depending on how much exposure you had to the media, determined if you had a happy, healthy relationship or not. Today, in addition to the media we now have access to millions of people across the World Wide Web. So, whereas before we could get away with only our friends and family seeing our vacation pictures, today, millions of people have access to, what used to be, our intimate family photos.
So, instead of enjoying our family vacations, holidays or intimate dinners with our loved ones, we are searching for ways to showcase our fabulous lives for views. And, that’s not even the half of it! Before all a man needed to be was better than or equal to Prince Charming. Today, he has to be better than the “Most Interesting Man Alive!”
Scale Down Your Need For Validation
If we truly want to live happily ever after, then we must begin by scaling down our need for validation. Sure, other people’s opinions matter to us, even their approval. But, at the end of the day, it is how we feel about ourselves that truly brings forth the amount of joy and happiness we bring into our lives.
To begin scaling down we can start with how much time we spend on social media. Now, I can see how this might be difficult for many of us, simply because everything we do is tied to social media. However, the key is to disconnect, and spend more time offline than we do online. This can be simply leaving our phones at home when we go out to dinner. Who cares if we cannot capture that perfect of our meal. There is plenty of #foodporn posts without ours.
Another thing we can do to scale down our need for validation is spending time being grateful for what we have. We can begin with being thankful for getting out of bed in the morning. We take for granted the simple things, that in actuality are not so simple. For instance, think how many times your heart continuously beats throughout the day. Isn’t that something to be grateful for? If we have a roof over our heads, a meal to eat, our health and our loved ones, give thanks! Perhaps if we spent more time being grateful for the things we have, we can scale back our need for approval on what we don’t have.
Find Ways To Be Happy Offline
Lastly, if we schedule our online activities we may have more time to ponder on things that really matter such as: Our relationships, future projects, hobbies or activities we enjoy. On average, the amount of time most people spend on social media is about five hours per day. And, unless we work doing social media marketing, none of us should be spending that many hours a day online.
Even if we’re running a business and using social media to promote or sell our products or services, five hours per day is way too many hours to be online. Productivity is not about how much time we spend on something, but rather how much energy we spend on something. Managing how much energy we spend on our daily tasks, will greatly decrease how much time we spend our daily activities. So, instead of spending countless hours online, make a social media schedule to scale back the hours you are exposed to the validation mob.
While I can appreciate the wonderful things that social media has brought us, such as: More access to family and friends living abroad or connecting us to other peoples and cultures. The one thing social media has also brought with it is an increased need for validation. The more likes we have the higher our approval ratings, and vice versa. The thing we might not see is that we used to be appreciated more and we used to appreciate others. And, for far more than a picture post.
Our heroes and influencers used to be doctors and firefighters. Today our influencers are people that create photos, videos, memes, and GIFs. And, this insistent need for approval stretches far beyond our friends and family, but also to our younger generation. Children used to have to be cool in school. Today, they have to be cool online. When does it end? If we are truly going to find our happily, perhaps we can begin and end with a bit more self-love and self-respect. Maybe if we learn to truly love and respect ourselves for who we are and not who we are online we can begin to see that we are more than enough.
Previously published on Finding Happily
Photo provided by author