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You can't be the Black Hole for validation....

Posted by Racer on February 14, 2004, at 9:07:20

In reply to Re: Validation, posted by DaisyM on February 12, 2004, at 23:50:33

Because I am that Black Hole.

Yeah, I'm a work in progress, but I've found somethings that have at least helped the way I look at it.

First one is that I'm learning to admit how much of my self-image is as a LOSER, a total and complete failure, generally worthless, yaddida, yaddida. Now, the next step for some people who aren't losers would be to counter those feelings by pointing at something one does well, as proof that it's not true. I'm not there yet. But I am at a point where I can say, "OK, it's true that I don't do [x] perfectly, and it's probably true that I don't do [x] quite as well as I might be able to if I worked harder at it, but it's also true that I have completed [x] and that does count for something." I can also say things like, "Anyone who looks closely enough to see the mistakes I made in [x] Is Not My Friend." and "I don't have to compete against anyone except myself, so it doesn't matter than someone else could have done it better -- the *fact* is that I decided to do it, and then I did it."

Another thing that helped me was figuring out why I always feel like such a loser. Simple and clear as mud. My mother, when I was a kid, sometimes gave me approval for things. There was a picture I drew once, which she praised to the skies for having a precocious sense of perspective. Well, even at 5 or 6, I knew I was copying something I'd seen, so that praise didn't validate me. As I got older, though, my mother's unmet need for validation from her mother started her criticism of me ratcheting into high gear. Oh, and every thing my mother does is flawless. It really is. That's a tough act to follow, as you can imagine. So, now I know where my need for constant validation comes from: and I know something that helps me find an answer for improvement. Recognize who's approval I'm really needing, and start to find ways to internalize the validation I didn't get from the outside. I have to start learning to be my own internal mother's voice of approval.

None of the sorts of exercises where you write down your accomplishments has ever helped me, by the way, because I can always list the failures within them all, and even if I don't write that part down, I know it's there. But little triumphs help me. A lot of the little triumphs are very little, and they relate to something I've made. Not exactly the stuff of which legends are made, but they help. I get great satisfaction of a seam well sewn and pressed. Completing a sweater for my husband, or even for someone else, gives a good feeling. I think my next step is to learn to get that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment from something unrelated to fibers.

I guess it's still baby steps, but maybe some of this will get you thinking in ways that you hadn't before, and maybe you'll find the key to yourself there. I know that's happened to me on these boards, so there's a payment on my debt.

Good luck.




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