I was at Walmart today, because it was 4:30 on a Friday and I hate myself.
This isn’t immediately about my self-loathing, though. Plenty of time for that later. Rather, it was about what I overheard an employee say as I was exiting:
I just need validation!
If I hadn’t felt so dead inside (because Walmart), I would have laughed.
That, I thought to myself, is being human…in four words.
We just need validation.
No matter what the goal, no matter what the perceived motivation, all we really want is to feel loved and appreciated.
The problem is, we don’t always get what we so desperately seek. And when we don’t get it, we seek it out in other forms.
Spoiler alert: this is when it gets unhealthy.
I am super guilty of unhealthy practices. If I have been slighted, whether that slight is real or imagined, something deep beyond my conscious control immediately signals to me that it is time to find instant gratification.
Sadly, my instant gratification, all too often, comes in the form of processed foods and refined sugar products.
And it feels fantastic…for about as long as I’m consuming said products.
And then, oh, brother, commence the self-loathing.
It doesn’t matter how many times I have repeated this pathetic cycle, I do not learn from it. No matter how many times I think, hey, in about 12 to 20 minutes, you’re going to hate yourself and it’s going to be awful and you’ll have to call and have a team come with the jaws of life to get you out of those jeans that just this morning were too big for you, Reactive Jen is like, “YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE LAY OFF ME I’M STARVING.”
And, thanks to cognitive dissonance, Passive Jen is like, “Works for me! Let’s eat!”
It’s pretty gross, really. I mean, once I’m full and can’t move.
My point is, food is delicious.
But I digress.
I feel pretty confident in saying that this is something of which many of us are guilty. The insta-validation token may not come in the form of food…it may be drinking, or drugs, or flirting, or Netflix, or a combination of any of the above. We all, however, hit the dark and lonely depths of self-doubt, and seek surrender in the closest form of perceived salvation.
Some choose a healthier outlet, such as exercise or journaling their feelings, or they call a friend and talk it out.
These people are not to be trusted, and are likely not human. Avoid them at all costs. They likely also have perfect hair and skin, which are two ways to tell for sure if someone is a robot pretending to be human. I read it in a book once that was about only true things.
This is the part where I really want to have an answer that will solve all of the problems of the world, starting with mine. But I got nothing.
Nothing, save this: we ALL seek the same things. We all crave validation. When you feel your most unlovable, try to remember that you are not alone. Frustration and despair, anger and helplessness, are all part of the human condition. These dark times make the light ones feel so, so much more kick-ass.
At least that’s what I tell myself when I’m covered in wrappers and cry-yelling “I did my best! I did my best!” until I fall asleep in my makeshift blanket fort.
Life, man. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.
Now give yourself a hug, because you rule. And then call me and tell me how great I am, because I can’t afford new pants.