It is ironic, the more I put stress and pressure on external forces to validate me, the more disappointed I become. All signs lately (daily meditation readings, conversations with close friends, social media posts by those I respect and admire) are pointing to happiness only coming from inside. Any ‘happiness’ I may find from what a partner does, a financial bonus from my job, or the way someone responds to my perceived external needs is fleeting at best; and it is detrimental to my health at its worst.
I respond to external circumstances going in my favor with a zeal that sometimes scares me. If I get a text from someone I’m interested in, I get giddy like a school boy. Then I hang on to the next communication and when it goes unanswered for a few hours, I’ll at some point use that episode to spiral into a melee of experiences where I was rejected romantically, at work, or from friends. It doesn’t take much to get this swirl started and frankly, it scares me sometimes just how dependent on external stimuli I have become.
I’d like to write and share with you how much progress I have made over the last few years so that you think that I’ve got it all together. There is nothing that feeds my old behaviors like good old-fashioned people pleasing and getting others to like me. But that’s what will sustain me. Only an internal sense of well-being can carry me through the good times and the bad. Yet that type of growth, inspiration and comfort isn’t readily visible to others, so often I dismiss it out of hand because it won’t gain the approval that I seek from my fellows.
The more I ask for this validation of who I am from outside of me, the more I feel less than and inadequate. But turning inward is not an easy thing to do when you’ve spent years not only practicing external stimulation and validation, but being inundated with it at every turn: the television, social media, family and even good friends. Without realizing it, all those jokes and kidding around feed an internal drive to impress others rather than get more in touch with who I am.
The masks that I wear are slowly diminishing, and it leaves me feeling more vulnerable every day. Yet this is the only way to reach the freedom I seek of internal validation, happiness and contentment. I can only hope that the internal progress and growth keeps pace with the dissolution of the barriers that I slowly watch crumble around me. Just for today, I will have the courage to be true to myself, and not look elsewhere for my needs.