In the past two weeks I’ve written two pieces about wellness / self-care / yoga, a universe I usually keep offline (or reserve for this space), not so much public consumption. But it’s felt nice. And it’s reminded me, as I re-up this newsletter, that I am more consistent when I commit to something specific.
So! Instead of all politics all the time, Monday newsletters will be short, sweet meditations on a central question / idea / topic to spend a few minutes of your day thinking about. I often find myself starting the week off by barreling ahead through my To Do list. It’s important to charge forward, but it’s also nice to fold a little bit of self-reflection into the beginning of the week.
Today I’m thinking about validation: How we validate ourselves, and where we feel we need validation from others. Where in your life do you feel validated, affirmed, and recognized? What parts of yourself are you able to validate internally? Are you able to tell yourself that you’re hard-working / smart / attractive / kind / doing a good job / good enough? Without critiquing or judging your own internal monologue, where do you do affirm and support yourself? Where could you change the story you tell about yourself, or the tone you tell it in, to be kinder, more affirming, and more compassionate?
And where do you seek external validation? Is there some shame attached to considering that question — an assumption that seeking or desiring validation from others is a failure of self-worth? We are social creatures, and we all crave and need outside recognition and support; it can be a necessary act of self-love to seek it, not a weakness. “You have to love yourself before someone else can love you” is a lie. We are all worthy of love, and we are all capable of being loved.
But the question is whether you’re fortifying your own durable structure, or whether you are waiting for someone else to build it for you. Without spiraling into self-criticism or reproach, can you spend a few minutes honestly assessing where you seek the validation of others? Do you need others to help you feel smart / attractive / competent / like you’re doing a good job? (I do). Do the people you hold the closest and value the most offer this kind of fortification? Do they acknowledge and value what you’ve built and help you to weather-proof it? Do you feel comfortable communicating to your loved ones where you could use a hand reinforcing the vulnerable spots?
Emily Shapiro, one of my yoga teachers and my partner in hosting yoga and writing retreats, has lately been ending her classes by telling students, “good job.” It’s a simple, small thing, but she says she knows that her class may be the only time a lot of people hear those words in their day.
We all want confirmation that we’re doing a good job. Know that you are.