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The need for validation

As I was on my way home a few days ago, a realization struck me that has changed how I see my life now.

I have always been a timid, reserved, and passive person ever since. I didn’t think about it really, I kind of just accepted those as personal traits. In school, I wasn’t the active student who volunteers for a lot of things, never the teacher’s pet, avoided leadership roles and recitations, and didn’t have a lot of friends. I have always been so anxious of public speaking, impromptu speeches, poetry reading — anything where I’ll be the center of attention basically. I improved somehow (and magically) in college but nonetheless that was my core and I remained true to it. I’ve always believed that I’m an introvert and those traits just comes along with it. Little did I know that it was rooted to something deeper.

I have fear of failure and of being judged. I didn’t take any big risks and I always (over)think before I do something. I even, often times, unconsciously convince myself that a task or a decision isn’t realistic and right to avoid it. Like when I was appointed to lead my organisation in college but I turned it down because I was too busy focusing on my thesis and other bullcrap. This then lead me to resign because I was ashamed of this decision and my pride couldn’t take it. That irrational fear has, I believe, made me pass on wonderful opportunities for self improvement and growth. Just because I didn’t to risk failing…without even trying.

Right now, I’m confronted with the same problem at work. I am tasked to lead a big project at work and having no solid leadership background, I almost relinquished the task to somebody else. That fear is nagging me again to do just that and I’m trying with all my might to shut it down the voice in my head telling me “you’re too young and you can’t do it”. I always think of “what if I fail” but never really giving any thoughts on “what if I succeed”.

Likewise, I always cared what people think of me and what I do. It’s why I am always in desperate need of validation – for the work I do, for the things I say, for the clothes I wear, for everything. Although a little pat on the back from time to time is healthy, the constant need for affirmation is destructive. Relying on people’s opinion of me and what I should and shouldn’t do is imprisoning me from what I really want and meant to do. It keeps me grounded instead of flying towards my dreams and goals. More often than not, it kills courage and determination that there came a time when I didn’t even want to try anymore. Breaking out of this…it is not a walk in the park. It takes a lot of acceptance, maturity, and forgiveness to truly trust and believe myself.

So, this made me think…when confronted with fear, the first step is always to face it head on instead of running away and escaping. The second step is to smash it until it no longer scares me. I’m working on this and I’m not giving up until I overcome it.

I saw this in Pinterest and every time we feel scared…just think about this.

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