Monday, June 26, 2017

Need validation...or not? @Liz Flaherty

The woman who doesn’t need validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet. – Mohadesa Najumi

I read the above in a list of quotes in a random email from Pinterest. At first, I thought—in typical hear me roar fashion―“Yes, exactly!”

But then I thought again.

When I tell anyone in my family I love them, it’s true they don’t have to respond in kind or in almost-kind—“Me, too”—but I wait the extra beat it sometimes takes to hear the response. I admit that if they don’t say it, I wish they had. Just because I wonder, for only a hiccup of a moment, why they don’t.

When I worked full time with the public in the post office, I heard a lot of complaints. There was a poster in the office that said something like “you ARE the post office,” and it was true. Whatever postal employee many people saw was fair game for every complaint they’d had from birth on. It got old—the three-cent stamp was not my fault! ๐Ÿ˜Š But occasionally—no, often—a customer would give me an “atta girl.” They’d thank me and go on to tell others I’d done a good job. A few gave me gifts at Christmas—unnecessary but really nice—and  a few showed up at my retirement party.

The angry consumers? Yeah, that was part of the job. Just keep smiling and fix whatever you can. The ones who made my days with smiles and thanks of their own? The validators? I needed them.

Which brings us to the writing portion of this regularly scheduled program. Not all reviews are good. There is the occasional snarky letter or email from a disgruntled reader. But then, here will be an email that says someone enjoyed your book and was going to order the rest of your backlist. Someone leaves a great review on Amazon. Life is good.

Sometimes edits—which I’m working on now—will make you wonder why the publisher bought the book in the first place if they just want ๐Ÿ˜Š to change everything. But then at the end of the chapter will be an editorial comment: “Nice!”


So, do I need validation? I absolutely do. Although this will never make me “the most feared individual on the planet” or even in the room, I’m okay with that. I'd rather be respected than feared.


8 comments:

  1. I hear you! I've been through this assessment myself recently. For mother's day I told everyone not to feel obligated to do anything. I really meant it and was in my mind giving them freedom of choice. Some liked it, some didn't know what to do with it. In writing, I feel powerful when I'm grounded in my belief in my skills, but it can get rocked with an edit or a comment/review. We who publish don't work in a vacuum. It matters if our writing is well received. But I guess we have to understand that not everyone is going to love our work and not take things as defining. Thanks for the great post!

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    1. I agree with you on that "grounded in my belief in my skills," but I admit I'm way too easy to convince I'm wrong in that belief. I'm glad, if it makes sense, to be vulnerable enough to need validation from outside myself. I think maybe it gives me empathy, which I like having.

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  2. Nice post and yup, we all need validation, no matter how confident or successful we are. You are a great writer, but you already know that, right? ;-)

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    1. :-) I have to wonder what's going on inside a person who denies needing that validation.

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  3. It is lovely to be validated. But I do think a real sense of self comes from within. We have rhino-hide to live through all those rejections/bad reviews/whatever and keep putting ourselves out there.

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    1. I think it comes within, too, but mine seems to need perpetual help. I've never developed the "rhino-hide" needed and am pretty sure it's not going to happen at this point. :-)

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  4. Good post, Liz. I think I'll edit that quotation to read: The woman who doesn’t need validation from anyone is the HAPPIEST individual on the planet. *g*

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    1. Sounds good, but I don't think I agree with it. I think if we didn't have that need we'd lose that empathy I mentioned--and I'd rather have that.

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