Validation and Correction

“As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are – what others say is irrelevant.”

― Nic Sheff

I agree and disagree.

Let’s parse this quote and start in the middle:

“You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that.” 

I don’t believe anyone can achieve this on their own. We may think we know who we are, but we can never know for sure. We all lack in certain areas in our mental and emotional makeup to have the ability to always discern the validity of what we think, feel or believe – who we are. No one perceives themself objectively, only subjectively. And quite often others know us better than we know ourselves. Now to the beginning: 

“As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster.” 

If we accept the fact that we cannot be sure of the validity of our own understanding of ourselves, we need others to verify or correct us, to show us who we really are; others may have greater knowledge or greater insight to give us a better understanding of what we think, feel or believe. We may be wrong, and thus headed to unexpected trouble. Their input could save us that. Or, we may be right and their validation would allow us to move on safely. Finally, the conclusion:

“You have to know who you are – what others say is irrelevant.” 

If we accept the fact, in light of all I’ve said above, that we can never truly know beyond doubt that our perception of things and, therefore, the correctness of what we think, feel or believe – who we are – is true, then what others say is relevant to our understanding of ourself.

I would rephrase the quote and say:

“You should look to others to validate who you think you are. Maybe they’ll affirm what you think, feel or believe, and if not can give you the benefit of a different and, perhaps, a greater understanding. What they say is relevent to you, to become whole and complete in yourself. To not seek the input of others is to set yourself up for possible disaster.”

But only those in whom I trust, only those closest to me, those that I know love me and have my best interests at heart do I listen.

For the rest of the world, I agree with Sheff. I don’t need their approval.

– Bill

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