No, Thanks – I Don’t Need a New Car

 

I dropped a bomb on Monday.

 

external validation - sig

 

I’ve had super supportive, somewhat supportive, thought provoking, and downright disapproving comments on that post. The only thing they have in common is that they’re amazing.

I love every single one of them.

They made me think of a conversation I had with a friend of mine about validation.

Most people need it. Not many like to talk about it.

There are two types: External and Internal.

People are primarily motivated by one type of validation or the other. There are positive and negative aspects of each (which I won’t get into here).

External needs approval from the outside world.

Internal needs approval from within.

When your inside says “I look horrible”, it doesn’t matter how many people say “You look great!” Because. Internal.

Well, that’s me.

I could be at a party with 50 people all saying they love my hair and, if I don’t like it, I’d leave at the end of the night still hating my hair.

But just because I’m an Internal Val kind of gal doesn’t mean I don’t want to get compliments on my hair. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to get lovely comments from my readers.

Although my validation comes from within, I still value others’ opinions.

It’s not where I live—I don’t need it in order to feel good enough. However, I appreciate it because it causes me to reflect, to look at myself or a situation in a different light. (Also, it’s nice to hear.)

I always love the comments from my readers; they are interesting, thought-provoking, funny, and helpful. But I am truly touched by the comments from my friends on that post. A heartfelt thanks to you all for taking the time to share, support, and commiserate.

So I dropped a blog bomb and it blew up in my comment section. (In a good way.)

Also, behind the scenes, I received quite a few unexpected phone calls, emails, tweets, and DMs.

There was a lot of serendipity.

I’m in the eye of the storm, I believe. Because things have calmed a bit, giving me a chance to think more clearly. But there are dark clouds headed my way.

See you on the other side.

 

My Sunday thoughts in (a bit over) 200 words.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you think about validation? Are you an Internal or External? Do you get your validation from yourself or others?

 

 

Update: I was just today reminded of this post by Gulara Vincent: When Quitting is Healthy. Her post is more goal-oriented than giving up on a dream but it’s similar in that quitting can sometimes be a positive thing. It’s definitely worth a read.

 

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51 thoughts on “No, Thanks – I Don’t Need a New Car

  1. I listened to Oprah Winfrey’s commencement speech to Harvard a long time ago. What I remember is her opening. She said that there was one question every single guest on her show, no matter who they were, always asked at the end of it. It was, “Was I all right?”. We all need to be appreciated or validated. It’s part of being human. I liked Paula Reed Nancarrow’s comment from last week: “I see someone who has decided that her blog is her best platform for self-expression at the present time, and is putting her writing in the context of her other values.” You have a lot on your plate, and I’m glad you are still here with your Thought Bubbles. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I suppose it’s all in how the individual person received Oprah’s answer and if it changed how they felt about themselves and whether or not they were “all right”. Yes, Paula’s comment was spot on. I loved everyone’s advice, support, ideas, suggestions, insight… It all got me thinking about a lot of things.
      So you are eloquently expressing yourself while I have become the “Lady in Transition”. 😉 I’m trying to empty my plate but life keeps refilling it like an overzealous hostess. Thank you, Kate. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

    • You’re right. I needed this time to breathe before the rest of the storm hits. Honestly, I think part of this will work itself out without my meddling. The other parts…those I’ll get my battle gear on for. Thank you, Charli. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Mmmmmm, that is a really interesting point about validation. I’d love to read/chat/something more about that… because I have a feeling that’s a key to unlocking a way to treat/manage depression and anxiety.

    I am honestly not sure if I’m more of an internal or external gal… I really do crave praise from other people, but no matter how much it gets praised – I’m like you – I’ll leave the party still feeling horrible about my hair.

    I’m really really glad you put up this post today. Bravo. And hugs. (And chocolate cake, because I made some last week.) ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Now THAT is interesting. I hadn’t thought of that but it makes sense. How we perceive ourselves and how we process incoming praise in relation to our mental state is surely something someone has written about.

      Sounds like you’re exactly like me. Praise, compliments, positive experiences are awesome but they only serve to stimulate your mind and get the wheels spinning in a different direction or allow you to see something from a different angle. Still internal.

      I’ll take the hugs (and chocolate cake). Thank you. 💕 Hugs right back. And I don’t bake so…wine? 🍷

      Liked by 1 person

    • It really isn’t ideal to base our self worth on (and lots of people don’t like to talk about it) but, you’re right, we do need it. In one way or another. Sometimes a mixture of both. Thanks. 😊

      Like

  3. Glad you were pleased with the response, Sarah, and might take a while to take some of the more positive ones inside you. But I hope you can.
    Your thought bubble today sent me off on a bit of a tangent – we actually took delivery of a new car on the day my first novel was published. The showroom had put up a big sign welcoming Mr and Mrs A and put some kind of bow on the bonnet, so it was wrapped up like present, so they were rather bemused when only he turned up to collect it. But really, what’s a new set of wheels compared with realising a lifetime’s ambition?
    On the other hand, I had my first thoughtful thumbs-down review yesterday and, while I might aspire towards inner validation, those negatives from outside have a way of getting through. But hey, it’s a rite of passage.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I was genuinely surprised and happy, yes. A little overwhelmed, honestly. I wasn’t sure I should put it out there so publicly but I figured it would keep me honest. 😉
      Ah! You didn’t… And a bow? Too funny! I can picture the whole thing. Mine is just my son’s Matchbox car. You win. As for the thumbs-down review, I agree 100%. It’s a rite of passage. And I read your book in 2 days (which is unlike me – slow reader) and it was not a thumbs-down book. It’s beautifully written and you are amazingly talented. (How’s that for external validation?) Also, it’s true. Negatives do have a way of getting through but positives should as well. We need to make room for those.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Now thanks for your support, Sarah! Always pleased to have external validation. But that review was fair also – we don’t all read things in the same way, as I certainly know from my own experiences of reviewing. But then after I had felt the initial hurt, I felt proud of myself for responding “professionally” and thanking the reviewer (though I’ve probably negated that by flagging it here), which then becomes a way of getting internal validation without being defensive.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m listening, Sarah and trying to hear. I also am my harshest critic but it is great to receive the validation of others as well. Why do we “internals” listen to our own negatives but not tell ourselves the positives? Why do we question the positives of others and turn them into negatives? Why is it so hard to accept that we are okay, just the way we are? It sounds like our internal judgments may be based upon external fears, regardless of what the externals tell us. Sorry. I’ve just been working this through in my fingertips.
    I hope you sort out your internal conflicts soon and find a place where your many facets fit together and allow you to shine as only you can. Travel safe through the storm.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, Norah. Seriously. Why is that? Why do we do this to ourselves? I am so hard on myself. I would never be like this to anyone else. We do listen to all the negative stuff because we’re being “honest” with ourselves but we truly do need to listen to some of the positive stuff, too.
      Ugh…questioning the external positives. You know what? I wrote a guest post this year (my very first) and, at the end of the year, the blogger did a Top 20 recap. The most popular/most viewed posts. Of the whole year. Out of over 200 posts. My guest post was #2. You know how I responded? “Pfft! It wasn’t me. It wasn’t my writing. Everyone loves that topic. Of course they visited the post.” I wasn’t going to write that down but, now that I did, it’s kinda cringe-worthy. “Why is it so hard to accept that we are okay?” Why indeed?
      Thank you, Norah. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wow, Sarah. Your guest post was #2 out of 200! That blogger must be ecstatic about inviting you over. What a favour you did there! I think you not only need to write it down here, you need to write it down and share it in a post! #2 of of 200 fits well for your thought bubbles. You’ve just about written one now. You are more than okay, Sarah. When you write your post, please link to the article. so we can all go and read it and it will be #1 in the list this year! 🙂 I’d like the link to read it anyway please. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nooo… I’m thrilled to have had a guest post there – a great blog and a talented writer. Ack! I’m not writing it down or sharing it anywhere! 😀 It’s done. It’s been promoted. The point is, when my friend and my husband saw that, they were excited (and smug) but I came up with every excuse in the world why it wasn’t anything to do with me. And I believed it (believe it). That’s the problem. (I will send the link but I believe you’ve already read it.) Thanks for your enthusiasm and support. ❤

        Like

  5. Oh Sarah I’m just seeing all this now. A couple years ago I stood on the edge of my own cliff. I looked down and thought maybe it’s time to let this dream go. It took some months of soul searching but I decided to stay on. I understand what you mean about internal and external validation. Only you can figure out the next step. Good luck with whatever you decide.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. More synchronicity – Wish I could share with you a bit I wrote (whilst all the comments on ‘that post’ were flooding your blog) in ‘the big project’ about the eye of the storm in a bit called THE END (that doesn’t mean I’ve finished but I tried that-just-f***ing-write-thing and the catharsis was good if not the rest. (Sorry USA, we’re terribly sweary when we’re passionate over here)
    Hoping venting your feelings has given some peace. That can be the best time to see things clearly or regain control.
    As for the hair thing, putting on a dusty psychology hat (perhaps Annecdostist would confirm my laywoman version please ClinPsych..) we develop self-esteem and resilience styles/methods through childhood. Unfortunately if circumstances lead to flaky self-esteem, based on what others think of us rather than a confident view that we are ‘good enough’, we can spend a lifetime chasing things to make us feel better about ourselves – all actually externally related even though you feel it’s internal. Why are we perfectionist about some things? – there’s one hair out of place thing – somewhere along your path someone or events taught ‘imperfect = bad’ therefore I am bad if one hair is out of place. We then equate that with the feeling and think it ‘I feel bad if one hair is out of place’ but that’s because we’ve forgotten the association and no longer rationalise it to “My aunt always said my hair looked mousy” or whatever possibly unrelated events that started all these things off.
    I think we’re probably all mixed on where we like to get approval or confirmation (and that’s not a bad thing socially or developmentally) but if self-esteem is only gained externally you are at the mercy of others all the time. Internal self-esteem means you can protect yourself from criticism by knowing everything else about yourself that’s good and believing you’re a good/nice /loved person with all your quirks and foibles and bad hair!
    Sorry – this is nearly a post – but that would require hours of research and agony my end. I can throw a comment down with much less angst!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It makes a lot of sense to me, Laywoman!!! Just to add, in the way I conceive of it it’s a process that starts very young, when we’re preverbal, which is then hard to untangle because the memories aren’t so clear. Something I tried to write about in one of my guest posts

      But hey, congratulations at reaching THE END, a huge milestone even if it doesn’t mean the project is finished.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Quite alright, Lisa, we’re terribly sweary on this blog. So. “The End” has been typed. Like Anne says, that’s a big milestone. It’s not the end of your work, but a major achievement. Congratulations on that!

      You know, venting has been good. Or, rather, posting. I regretted doing so in such a public way but it’s been a real eye-opener. A reality slap. And I don’t think I would have been able to think about it so much and from so many different angles if I hadn’t posted it. (Thanks, again, to my lovely friends and readers.)

      As for your “laywoman” analysis, I completely agree. I left it out of this post because it’s under 200 words but also because I didn’t want to get into the positive/negative stuff. But I will say this. YES! It’s exactly that. If you don’t have validation coming from within, you will ALWAYS be chasing approval from others in the form of verbal praise, accolades, degrees, et al. It’s never-ending. And this: “you are at the mercy of others all the time.” Perhaps we’re mixed but I think we are primarily in one camp or the other – not to say we aren’t affected, but real validation I think either comes from inside or outside. Eh. A laywoman’s opinion. 😉

      Like

  7. Soooo interesting. My brother, older than me and far brighter in an instinctive intellectual way always did better at school, in tests etc when we were younger and, being only one school year behind I was well aware of the comparisons between our results. He read quickly, had interesting hobbies and could engage adults. I did none of these things. My parents said all the right things which I ignored and my grandmothers said stupid things like ‘I’m sure you did your best’ which I took a validation I was shit. I didn’t consciously set out to compete but I did. So when my A levels (the end of school exams) were better than his (mostly in different subjects, we overlapped maths) I metaphorically punched the air. He was really happy for me which wasn’t what I wanted. My degree (again a different subject) was much better than his and from about 22 my parents started worrying about his prospects not mine. He remained supportive and a cheerleader for my successes and I wanted him to be jealous. It took me until i was nearer 30 no longer to make comparisons and start to see him for what he is – a tremendously caring brother and to accept his praise. Now he’s a great sounding board for me, calling it honestly and I accept his validation before everyone else’s. Not sure why I’ve written this here – sorry if it’s filled up your comments again – but I started out not accepting any aid unless it conformed to my own moment by moment view. Now, like Anne, I reel a bit at criticism but I understand a bit better that I’m as ok as I need to be and I only need to compete with myself and then only a little.
    I read this post today and it rang bells with me, albeit a totally different experience to Gulara. Not sure if you’ve seen her blog or if this will ring with you. I am loving reading your thoughts, Sarah because they make me think and look back and forward and around corners I’ve not even known were corners. Selfishly please keep them coming.

    Vulnerability and ‘Daring Greatly’

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting how you’ve shared your changing relationship with your brother – having siblings is a mixed bag, but I have just committed to dedicating my next novel to mine.
      I think feeling comfortable with how we are is a lifelong project – thanks for linking to Gulara’s post. I do agree vulnerability is strength, once we can get our heads and hearts round it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, siblings. Yes. I love Anne’s comment on it being a “mixed bag”. So true. I’ve seen you with your brother online and I’ve read some of your posts where you talk a little about this. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that we finally get what we want and it’s not what we wanted at all? We get ticked off about it then realize it wasn’t what we needed anyway.
      Ha! Your parents and grandmothers. They tried in their own ways. Adults can never really tell how children are processing what they’re saying. (Scares me a bit, being a mum.)
      So many rich comments here: “I started out not accepting any aid unless it conformed to my own moment by moment view.” And this: “I reel a bit at criticism but I understand a bit better that I’m as ok as I need to be and I only need to compete with myself and then only a little.” Oh, those really hit home.

      P.S. You never fill up my comment section. Well, not in a bad way. I love your thoughts on my thoughts. And thank you for reading and responding and loving these posts. I’m glad they get you looking all around (especially around corners you didn’t know were corners). ❤

      P.P.S. Thanks for Gulara's post. Haven't read that one yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I missed the post when it went up on Monday. I’ve just read it and my initial reaction was that you are a good writer. From what I’ve read anyway. But maybe that’s not your path. Or maybe it’s just not your path right now. Either way, I hope you find peace. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi, Sarah. My guess is that many of us have been right where you are now – at a crossroads with our writing – constantly questioning whether we are good enough or passionate enough to continue. I know that thought’s crossed my mind more times than I can count. I also know that we should never force ourselves to follow a path that no longer feels true. That said, I thoroughly enjoy your writing and look forward every week to your new posts, so I’m selfishly glad you’re going to forge ahead with the blog. Perhaps you just need time to sort things out – maybe in taking a break you’ll realize that your other writing pursuits are still very much a part of you – and perhaps they’ll take another form down the road. In any case, I wish you all the best and send you virtual hugs of support and encouragement to follow new dreams, wherever they may lead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m passionate enough, it’s the “good enough” that’s getting me. I’ve been to a similar place (questioning my writing) but never quite here. This is new territory for me and it’s not the path that doesn’t feel true. It’s still true. It’s still there. I’m just walking away from it.

      Yes, the blog stays. I need something to write. Thank you. ❤

      Like

  10. Interesting thought about validation. I don’t know if I’ve ever really thought about it for myself. Some aspects are internal, like my body. But others, like my books, I think there’s an external validation there.

    I hope you find validation within yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Book sales (and reviews) will always affect you. But that doesn’t mean it’s who you are or how you get validation primarily. I think people are firmly in one place or the other. I could be wrong. But, thank you, I hope I find something positive within. ❤

      Like

  11. Validation… what a peculiar concept. For me validation is far from constant. Some days I like it, other days I borderline need it, some days I don’t care. For me, I’ve decided to work hard to make internal validation the most important type of validation… it comes from rereading something and giving that nod of approval that you did your best. When it comes to external validation, of course I enjoy hearing when people read me and like what they read, but the type of validation that always gets to me the most, that makes me choke up is when someone tells me that something I wrote touched them. One of the greatest compliments I’ve ever gotten, that shakes me to this day, was one person who thanked me for something I wrote on the blog saying “thanks to what I read, I was able to love myself if only for a moment.” I mean what do you say to that?

    Another sense of validation comes from sustainability, i.e. being able to make a living off what you write… Still strongly pursuing that one lol.

    For now, and forever, I’ll read that email and know that what I’m doing is worthwhile and thensome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting. So…you’re kind of like an external validation kind of guy with leanings toward internal? I think, even if we have internal validation, we are still moved by people’s comments – affected by what people say. And a complete “wow” to that comment. How DO you respond to that?!
      What you’re doing is worthwhile. And then some. ❤

      Like

      • I think most of us are designed as an external validation kind of person. In my case, I felt the need to learn to search for and crave internal validation because being a writer and doing some of the things I do, being that way is a risk. Of course I’ll always be moved by what people say, but I need to follow my gut and heart more and see how they’re doing on their own, without praise or validation. Life has led me to be this way and I’ll be writing about this, but in short, some people get into writing full time thinking their 600+ friends on Facebook will read them. The reality is much more frustrating, especially when starting out.

        The other detail which has been fundamental in my decision as that you can’t please everyone. If you run around with that need, eventually you’ll implode. So as time passes, I decide to focus more on my validation, more on what pleases me, what makes me happy and feels right. But it’s far less noble than me thinking initially than what is right. It’s me avoiding pain and thus learning the worth of internal validation. Being thusly, I try seeing external validation as a bonus blessing so that each time I get anything, I’m thankful and immensely so, rather than “having to meet a quota of validation”. It’s not easy, doesn’t always work and I have to remind myself to focus within.

        Still, I’m thankful and intensely so, for this conversation, for the comments, for your comment to me, and for being able to see your interaction with fellow readers that also clearly validate that what you’re doing is also very worthwhile. Cheers

        Liked by 1 person

      • Love this comment. One thing in particular I need to work on is this: “you can’t please everyone. If you run around with that need, eventually you’ll implode. So as time passes, I decide to focus more on my validation, more on what pleases me, what makes me happy and feels right.” Yes. That right there. ❤️ Thanks, my friend.

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  12. Sarah, you have a unique and interesting way of expressing yourself. You may not have noticed that. Sometimes we need others to point out things that we may be blind to. Maybe you should write about things that you would be interested in reading. What books or articles do you usually devour? Maybe your decision to quit writing was actually someone else’s decision stuck in your head.

    Liked by 1 person

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