Thoughts about Being Influenced versus Seeking Validation/Acknowledgment

A Facebook friend confided on her page yesterday that she feels that she has made a lot of decisions in her life based on the influence of others. She mentioned that, recently, she was sharing how her training for a marathon is going and when this individual was not as enthused as she was, she felt let down. She indicates that, perhaps, she’s putting too much stock into what others think about who she is and what she’s up to. I had to give that post a “like” because we’ve all been there. I think we’ve all felt that deflation when we’re excited about something in our lives and nobody else seems to be.

While sometimes that sinking feeling can come from caring too much about what others think, I think it’s only natural to want others to simply acknowledge our “awesome thing” and say to us – Hey, you know what? That’s freakin’ awesome, dude. Go you!

We are human and, as humans, we seek connection.

It isn’t always being influenced by the opinion of others – sometimes it’s simply looking for validation or acknowledgement of our efforts in a difficult and busy world. I don’t have to understand the drive behind someone training for a marathon to be able to participate in that conversation. To tell them that I wish them the best in their efforts. To acknowledge how hard it must be to train on the days when the weather isn’t cooperative, or when you’re sore or tired or in a bad mood. The fact that anyone can overcome these obstacles and run 26+ miles in a race is a huge feat. [One I will never do, so why would I knock it?]

you-can-do-it-encouragement-meme

The thing is, I believe that when we share a bit of ourselves with another person it’s an act of love and it can hurt when it isn’t returned. That’s because it hurts to not be acknowledged. That’s not influence – that’s a larger scale version of waving at someone that you are friendly with and having them ignore you when you know they saw you.

In my opinion, someone’s influence would be more along the lines of allowing your family to guide you along a certain educational path or career. Perhaps who you marry and when; do you have children or do you not? Perhaps your clothing and your manner of speaking so that you fit into a crowd…again…seeking some sort of acceptance that truly varies from who you are inside.

In summary, just be good humans to each other. If someone’s excited about something you don’t understand, it’s okay that you don’t understand it – but understand that they are pumped up about it and be pumped up about their pumped-up-ness. Yeah! #GoTeam!

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