Insecurity, seeking validation, self doubt and feeling picked on or bullied…its all connected.
There is a difference between trying to convince people to see it your way, and wanting people to validate what you see.
Do you know someone who or perhaps find yourself second guessing yourself and your actions? How about constantly giving people explanations for your actions, your choices, or even explaining your opinion? Do you feel like you have to convince people of your logic because of your need for them to approve of you, what you did or what you think?
Enter the “Explainer”. There are “explainers” who:
their only intention is to convince people to agree with them and see it their way because they refuse to be wrong
And there are “explainers” who:
their only intention is to convince people to validate them or their opinion in hopes of proving their worth
The person that goes overboard explaining, might even exaggerate a little or be a bit to try to ensure people will believe them. (their so full of self doubt that they feel its necessary)
This person they might even give credit to someone else for their ideas or suggestions because they can’t imagine anyone putting any value in what they have to offer.
Let me be clear that I am not talking about the blatant liar, or the story teller that refuses to let people correct them. The people I am referring to are truth tellers, they just don’t want to take the chance of people laughing at them or thinking they are stupid so they use these tactics as protection.
Let’s talk about this “explainer” or “validation seeker”.
True, everyone likes to be validated, but not everyone NEEDS to be validated. Why do they need that validation? Who do they want the validation from? Those of us that need it, need it because we don’t believe in ourselves. We will accept it from anyone, but we especially long for it from the people we are closest to, or those whose opinion matters to us. If they validate OUR opinion, then it must be ok and that means we might not be stupid.
It’s no wonder people misinterpret “explainers” & “validation seekers” actions. It may seem like this person is trying to convince people to agree with them, which from the outside perspective, probably looks like they think that they are always right. But in reality, they are seeking validation. THIS IS RIDICULOUS YOU SAY??? Yes, I’m aware, and yet…it happens. It’s just another piece of this insecurity puzzle.
So here we are again, on the continued search to find what drives this ugly insecurity. Remember, in order to fix a leak, we must first find it. Ask yourself this, “What has happened to me in my life to make me doubt myself and my intelligence?” Chances are you will find more than one answer. Today I bring you more random contributing factors of self doubt. In an earlier entry I spoke of gaslighting, which is one big possible contributor to ones self doubt. It is also, in my opinion, a common form of bullying. When people talk about bullying we think of children on the playground, forgetting that adults deal with bullying as well. There are many forms of bullying and chances are good that the severely insecure person has been or is currently being bullied by one or more people. You can be bullied by your peers, strangers, co-workers, and whether you chose to believe it or not, it is common to be bullied by family members. For example, maybe you grew up with your mother blaming you for her missing out on her “big life plans”. Perhaps you have a sibling that enjoyed or still enjoys making you feel like a loser because they did better than you. My favorite is the wealthy family member that loves to show their “worth”, or the person that thinks their shit doesn’t stink and is constantly patronizing you. Maybe you were one of the kids it was easy to pick on at school because “you take it so well” or you’re “good natured”. Perhaps you were abused by an ex and told you were stupid on a daily basis, or the ex laughed at you and make you the target of smart alec comments and jokes to their friends, and worse yet, to your children. It’s also possible that you have been or are bullied by a co-worker or even your employer. And believe it or not, you might even be a victim of your own children’s bullying tactics.
I’ve always been easy to pick on. I don’t know why, maybe because I just laughed along with everyone rather than tell people I didn’t like it. Most recently I recall my boys’ dad poking fun at me about random things and my boys following his lead and laughing along with him. Eventually my boys started to poke fun at me about various things, some little, some big, but regardless the size of the poke, they all hurt. Going back, I remember being picked on by a few of my uncles, a couple more so than others (a little teasing could be part of the job description). The joking was generally good natured as a lot of uncles do, but I remember two uncles in particular that ALWAYS did it and it never seemed to quit. I mostly remember the comments about my “bubble butt”. EMBARRASSING! One particular uncle was very extreme. He would pull my pants down in front of everyone around and laugh. Of course the whole room would join in laughing, probably because it was so awkward and they didn’t have the courage to help me, so laughing seemed logical to them, even my parents didn’t have the courage to stop him. It was the same for me with my peers. As I’ve said before, I never really felt like I fit in anywhere, which meant I welcomed any attention that I got from anyone. Not all of my peers picked on me, but even the ones that didn’t, still laughed when the others did. Of course I always laughed along, because people were smiling which to me felt like I was accepted in some weird way, and it’s much less embarrassing to make it look like you also think it’s funny. Not to mention, I wasn’t going to be a tattletale or a snitch, that would certainly seal my fate as a loser. There were kids that got picked on much worse than I, a couple were my friends, and one I am guilty of picking on as well. I look back on that, and I feel sick-how could I? The most humiliating for me though, came from the boy in the grade ahead of me while we were in high school. He would run up behind me and pull my pants down in school in front of everyone. This was a weekly event, sometimes daily. I can still remember the kids laughing. All of them. Honestly I think if I saw him now, I would give him one big crack right across the face.
These are some of the incidents in my past that are large contributors to my being insecure which in turn causes my self doubt and my need to “explain” or my need to seek validation. If you too are one of these “explainers” or “validation seekers”, the simple yet important thing to remember, is that you are an adult, and you don’t need to “explain” yourself to anybody. Yes, you will find situations when an explanation is necessary or appropriate, or you choose to explain simply to be polite. The key here, is when you want to explain, first ask yourself why you are explaining. If the situation does not warrant an explanation, if you are explaining only because you want approval …..STOP!
It’s respectful to explain to your spouse why you were late getting home from work. It’s not necessary to explain to your neighbor why you mow your yard differently than they. When a friend or colleague invites you to lunch and you don’t want to go? It’s best to say “No thank you”, you don’t need to go on with a big explanation of your exhausting week. Maybe a family friend has a sticky situation to deal with and you have a suggestion for them. If they want an opinion, yes you should offer yours, but it’s not ok for you to give your spouse credit for it just in case they think it’s a ridiculous suggestion and you don’t want to take the chance of them laughing at you. If they trust your opinion, you should trust it too!
Maybe you miss a gathering because you had a headache most of the day and you just weren’t feeling quite up to par. It’s not necessary for you to exaggerate and tell them you were so sick that you could barely walk and you had a fever of 103.
It’s important for us to speak up for ourselves when appropriate, and to believe that we don’t need everyone’s approval. I think that it’s necessary for us to acknowledge the ugly things that have happened in our past, or the ugly words that have been spoken to us. Then, most importantly, we need to believe that we did not deserve any of the ugliness. We did not ask for it, it was not for anyone to give to us, it was wrong. We need not let shitty people from our past, or shitty situations in our past negatively define who we are now. The only definition should be how gracefully we recover from the ugliness that was undeservingly doled out to us. We should not let anyone disrespect us, not with actions or with words. Bullying comes in many shapes and sizes, and isn’t always so obvious. Regardless, it’s ugly and it has been a major part of diminishing your self-value. Our best advocate for ourselves is us, if we don’t stick up for ourselves or believe in ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to? I am an important person, YOU are an important person. I admit, I’m not sure of my purpose at present, but even as lost as I’ve been recently, I know that we all have one. Don’t let the ugliness define you any longer. Life is too short and time is too precious for you to cower in the corner. Surround yourself with people that are good to you and good for you. Keep the ugly people at a distance no matter who they are. (You can love from a distance if necessary) Live your life for you and empower yourself. Don’t wait for tomorrow, because tomorrow may be to late.