The Importance of Self Validation

In a world dominated by social media, people are faced with a desire to be liked now more than ever. We all struggle for acceptance, especially as teens and young people more than ever are grappling with low self esteem. I have noticed a concerning pattern of behavior: our society relies on others for validation rather than looking introspectively to find it within ourselves.

The power of having established one’s own worthiness and legitimacy is extremely useful, especially in a hyper-competitive community. Growing up in Lamorinda, students are encouraged to base their academic success upon that of others, creating an atmosphere where a sense of community is stifled by toxic individuality. Junior Katie Feldman said that academic competition “makes Campo’s environment restrictive for self affirmation to thrive.”

Students utilize destructive rivalry in driving the academic standard extremely high. While healthy competition is beneficial, Campo’s environment creates stress in promoting the comparison of one’s academic worth or success to that of another student.

Wellness Center Coordinator Jenna Wrobel described Lamorinda as a “pressure cooker” in highlighting the danger of relying on others for validation in our community. “Students’ resilience has decreased,” she said. “Their ability to come back from adversity is low.” After receiving a B on a test, Campo students may tend to fall into complete mental distress. Part of this is fueled by harmful competition as the expectation is an A.

As well as scholastically, validation is also drawn from social environments and the media. Social media comparison leads teens to rely on others’ approval for self-validation and goals, leading to self-doubt and decreased self esteem. Apps such as Snapchat make it easier to rely on people for affirmation as opportunities for instant conversation with multiple people contribute to a false sense of confirmation.

Junior Abby Kohler said that “the comment section on Instagram and the fact that you can see how many people like your posts” contributes to an unstable internal sense of affirmation. “The more people that interact with you on social media, the more people think you’re pretty and will validate you.” There is also an aspect of competition on socials as teens are forced to compare amounts of activity on their accounts or posts with that of their peers.

Finding this source of satisfaction and reliability can become addictive for many, and we tend to avoid providing our own averment as we grow up with access to alternate forms of validation.

This detrimental effect can be deflected by the potency of self validation. If one is able to move away from the strong self-criticism and hatred people can experience, they can learn to better accept and understand themselves without the worry of others needing to do so.

Though finding affirmation for oneself is an important skill to establish at a young age, it is necessary to acknowledge the natural teenage awareness of others. Wrobel said, “We see a lot of peers who are worried about what others think of them, though I will say that the value of peer opinion is a huge part of adolescence. There is a part of this that is normal developmental struggle, but what happens in a community like ours is that it creates this total storm of hyper-competitiveness.”

In a world where it’s easy to focus on the negatives, self validation keeps you grounded in who you are as you can avoid burdening that responsibility on others. In the end, no one can lift your spirits better than yourself.