Seeking external validation is a common approach we use to honor our worth and measure our lovability, but chances are if you’re seeking approval from a family who still calls you “pee pee pants” and “cottage cheese ass” in front of mixed company, you might be out of luck.
One way to stop seeking validation is to examine childhood experiences, but there isn’t enough Trazodone in the world to convince me to walk down that bed of hot coals. Self-care is another proven method for validating your needs. Unfortunately, the only self-care I can afford is going to the public library, and somehow the idea of renting a documentary on the Taiping Rebellion and leafing through a magazine from 2003 next to a guy who smells like raw milk doesn’t sound very appealing.
The third and most effective method is to seek validation from your friends instead of your family. What this option lacks in sensibility, it more than makes up for in instant gratification. Friends are just the family we choose, and who better to validate your worth than a group of people you choose to surround yourself with based on loneliness, insecure attachment styles, and a pattern-seeking brain?
When seeking approval from friends, always make sure to mirror their opinions no matter how stupid they are. If your friend thinks birds are drones controlled by the government to spy on citizens, so do you. Being loved is always more important than standing up for what you believe in.
Winston Churchill said, “If you have enemies, it means you stood up for something sometime in your life,” but he was a white supremacist and had almost no friends, so consider the source.
Another way to get people on your side is to shower them with compliments. If you don’t have anything nice to say, make something up. I once told a friend I would trade my mother’s
remaining years just for a chaise lounge as nice as theirs. In addition to empty compliments, remember to apologize incessantly, ask for permission to use the bathroom, and corner friends at parties to ask if they’re mad at you. These behaviors won’t get you to the top, but they’ll get you to the middle, right where you belong.