Saturday, February 23, 2008

Validation...


Whether I want to admit it or not, I need to feel of value, I need to feel needed and wanted and important and relevant. I need to be valid or validated. Is this an ego fetish of mine? Or am I that insecure?


Recently, I spent a lot of time and energy going after two different projects. Each was with a client that had known and worked with me before. Each was doing a project that I am completely qualified, even over-qualified to do and I felt very comfortable measuring up to the task of the presentation, the interview, the jury selection and the award of the projects. The problem was, they were in two different states and would require substantial travel and time commitment away from home, and would drive me crazy in trying to figure out how to do both of them at the same time - basically they had the same magnitude of scope and schedule.


My wife told me I was crazy to go after both projects. I really don't need the work, but I felt this overwhelming need to prove to myself that I was worthy of and valid as a professional by being accepted by these respective clients. Why is that? Why was it so important to prove to myself that I'm needed, and wanted, and valid? Why do I need constant validation to assure my personal worth?


As it turns out, I was awarded one of the two projects. Actually, I should be happy that I didn't get both, (and as it turns out, my wife's prayers were answered in my not getting both), but I immediately went into a withdrawal and emotional let-down over the project that didn't select me. Why wasn't I selected? What did I do wrong? Why was I not viewed as being "of value" or of "worth" to them? It was a real ego blow! I felt unwanted and unworthy.


Why is it so important to be "accepted"? Why does it hurt so much when I'm not? Why do I need such self-checks to "know" that I'm all right, instead of inherently just knowing that I'm okay with myself without external rewards or awards or recognitions?


We all need to feel needed and wanted and "of value" to others. We seek for grades and recognitions at school. We are trained from an early age to accept and desire praise and to be worthy of the love and admiration of others, of our parents and family, of our friends. We seek confirmation of the spirit to feel the Lord's love and praise and support in our lives. One of the YW values is "individual worth".


A couple of scriptures come to mind regarding "sparrows falling", or "hairs of our head being numbered" (Matthew 10:29-31) as well as "the worth of souls being great" (D&C 18:10). The Lord is constantly reminding us of our validity, of our godliness, of our potential, of our capacity to be like Him. And yet, I constantly feel like I don't measure up. Oft times, I fall short of the mark. Sometimes, I just don't get the job.


Again, I didn't need the job. Getting the job would have been the worst thing for me. I have no man-power to perform and receiving the job and then not being able to perform would be even worse. It would be detrimental on my health, on my family-life, on my spirituality. I know this - and yet, I wanted it - just to know that I was "loved" and "wanted" and "praiseworthy" of another client.

Now how sick is that?


I've always tried to "measure up". I've maintained the list, and checked the boxes...


- I'm an eagle scout, not because I loved scouting (I hated it!!!), but because it was expected of me to earn the award.


- I'm was a straight-A student for the most part, not because I was smart, but because my parents expected nothing but the best from me and I felt a drive to prove that I was worthy of their respect and praise and did everything I could to "get that 'A'" not because I wanted to learn or loved learning, but because I wanted to please them.


- I went on a mission because I had a testimony, yes, but I also went because it was expected of me, and I didn't want to disappoint anyone, and I wanted to feel of value for doing what I should be doing. (Actually, the one time I really felt human and full of the spirit, and connecting to people was toward the end of my mission when I really didn't care what the mission president thought of me, or what leadership position I held, or how many baptisms I had, or how many discussions I taught, etc... it was when I just felt the spirit and did what my heart told me to do!)


- I married my one and only sweetheart because I miraculously fell in love despite my attractions for men (that were mostly hidden and non-cognitive), but I also married her because I was "supposed" to do this, and it would lead to other blessings and "acceptance in the kingdom", thus leading to validity as a man, as a priesthood holder. I wanted to be included, to be part of the team, a participant in the plan, taking the steps that lead to more validation... of family, of friends, of God...


- I was always an outsider, the different one. I wasn't the most handsome. I was the nerd. I was uncoordinated and always the last to be picked on the ball-team. I'm a home-body. I'm a loner. I'm an overachiever. I'm envious. I don't like myself. (I know, I know... time for a "poor Beck" shout-out!)

- Rarely have I been accepted by men. I have felt different and isolated from them, envious of all that they are and all that I am not. My eagerness to stay on the "straight and narrow" because I should be doing so as it was and is expected of me, may have suppressed my attractions at times, and allowed me to stay in the closet for so long, and allowed me to live a "straight life" as a married family man for as long as I have - all, for the most part of seeking acceptance, normalcy, honor, sustaining from the Church, from my family, from God.


- I am not accepted as a gay man in my daily existence. I hide it. I hide myself. I'm not included. I'm apart. I desire intimacy that I can't have. I seek for touch that is forbidden. I can't cross over because I'm "good" and it "wouldn't be praiseworthy".


- It continues even here. I blog, at times, for acceptance and validity and personal-worth from this blogging community. I seek inclusion. I desire comments and search for connections and self-validity as others value my experience.


It's all sick!!! This whole existence of mine, including this blog, my career, my family life - it's all for "getting the grade" or "checking the box", or "being obedient for the reward" or "receiving the project"! It's for others, for wrong reasons, for impure motives... all in the name of "validation"...


I should have gotten that job... then I wouldn't have worried so much about being so invalid...
When will I ever be happy with JUST BEING ME!

13 comments:

Samantha said...

Not happy with just being you...but...if you could be someone else, who would you be? I'm guessing, in the end, you would choose to be Beck--because somewhere inside, you understand that you really are wonderful, and there's no one like you in the world.

It will feel better next week. I promise.

Mike Kessler said...

We all want to be validated, to some degree. Like you said, you couldn't have done both jobs well and still have maintained your physical and spiritual health, but the quandary lies in wondering why you need such validation from things that you know can be destructive. (No, you're not alone there, either.) I see it as being along the same lines as the "ilk" concern. Here's the closest I can get, as a Jewish gay man addressing an LDS gay man, and as a person who does respect your faith and your church: You need validation from your Heavenly Father and from yourself. You don't need validation from your bishop, for instance, or from your "sexual teammates" (other gay men). You sorely want their validation, I know, and I understand, but only you and your Heavenly Father really know who you are, and at least one of you loves you unconditionally and validates you unconditionally. (Hint: It's Heavenly Father.)

Abelard Enigma said...

It's all sick!!! This whole existence of mine, including this blog, my career, my family life...

[SLAP]

It's not sick! You matter! You have a family who loves you! You have a good career, a good life. And, you have friends who need you.

jason said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jason said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Abelard Enigma said...

You've been spammed!

Either that, or jason is figuring out ways to add even more stress to your life.

Beck said...

SAM: You're right... It's a new week and I feel better! As you say, this is my blog and I'm entitled to whine a bit here so that I don't act so obnoxiously out there. Thanks for tolerating my mood swings.

MIKE: The reality is - I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. He knows me and knows my circumstances completely. I'm at peace with that. I'm on a journey here, as we all are, in finding out what He knows about me and learning to love me in the process.

Beck said...

ABE: Thanks for the "slap". I needed that. I'm really doing okay... just griping about how feable I am at times, how vulnerable my fragile ego is, and how much I want to be accepted...

I want to be a "free spirit" and not worry so much about being validated and accepted and fitting in. Why can't I just be free to be me and not worry about what others may think? What would be so terrible about that?

Beck said...

This is the first time my blog has been spammed. I like keeping my blog open - but I hate spam.

Any suggestions?

Foxx said...

Welcome to the human race, Beck!

*applause*

Another thing to consider: I've been reading a book involving psychology and motivation, and sometimes we create problems for ourselves when we have a subconscious need for crisis - whether to relieve other stressors or to escape is difficult to say. Don't know if this applies to you, but it could be an alternate explanation to your wanting validation so intensely.

Just throwin' it out there.

RealNeal said...

I agree with Mike. :-)

One of the turning points for me was coming out to a very close straight friend.

I had decided, wrongfully so, that I could not be loved. Not really. Not if people knew I was a homo, a faggot, a queer. No one could love that. Even I couldn't love that! I didn't think God loved me either. So I hated myself privately, and believed everyone else would hate me publicly if they knew the "secret".

I didn't really know how much I needed validation at the time, but God knew, and provided me an opportunity to get a dose of it. When I came out to this friend, which happened at the urging of my Bishop and Stake Pres, I was totally caught off guard by his reaction of love and acceptance. We hugged, we cried, we laughed, and he promised me his undying support and friendship. I had just told him all my deep dark secrets and yet he still loved me - the homo, the queer, the fag - I was loved in spite of all that! He loved me for ME!

I feel silly at times when I look back and realize how wrong I had been about my friend and others who I came out to (similar reactions from all of them). I had such distorted views and expectations. I can indeed be loved for who I am. I can love myself just as I am. And God loved me enough to send me this wonderful friend, who continues to love and support me, along with his family. We are probably closer now than ever.

Love yourself, Beck. Love yourself just as you are. You're worthy of that, just as we all are.

Neal

Forester said...

Everyone needs constant validation. It's part of the human psyche. I got a traffic ticket the other day. At first, it didn't bother me, but when I thought more about it, the more self-pity I felt. I felt so picked-on. It really got to me. It made me feel like someone else thought I was a bad person. For me, the validation I need most is that I'm a good person.

Crisco said...

WOW! Sometimes your posts echo my own thoughts and feelings so much. What can I say but "ditto." Being separate and apart makes one lonely, but working so hard to keep up appearances or be something you aren't creates a clash with one's soul. Validation is a scary concept, but even more importantly, we want to feel loved. I hope you do feel loved here in the blog world. Thanks for your posts.