There are certain things that all humans need… we need water and we need food, but when it comes down to wants, it seems that it is all a matter of preference. After watching the film Birdman today, I realized that there is actually something that we all want, and that’s validation.
To validate (according to Dictionary.com) is substantiate, to confirm, to give official sanction, confirmation, or approval to.
When we fall in love with someone, we want them to confirm their love for us, because it makes us feel substantial. When we call a customer service line, we want someone to listen to our complaint, and then validate the error by fixing the problem or directing us to someone who can. When we do a good job, we want someone to acknowledge that good job, by offering a compliment, a pat on the back or even better a raise.
Conflict occurs when either we don’t feel validated or worse, when someone expresses that we are undeserving.
I think a lot of people want to be rich and/or famous, because people believe that material possessions (the rarer or the more expensive the better) and attention (the more followers, likes, & retweets) is the key to approval (even if that approval is based on limited or surface level information).
The truth is, validation is something that we all want because it’s motivation to keep going when things get tough. The more validated we feel, the easier it is to ward off character attacks. Validation is very much connected to our esteem and our self confidence. What can we do to validate each other in healthy ways? Parents, how do you validate your children? Teachers, how do you validate your students?