Validation. Purpose. Worth. These are words we rarely use when discussing ourselves, but words that describe our endless search for meaning in life. Social media gives us the avenue to achieve it. Many are defined in society by their Facebook friend count or Twitter followers. Why? Because we want validation. We want to belong to something bigger than ourselves, and it’s not limited to social media. The search for purpose and belonging is nothing new and it’s not limited. I seek your validation with this blog post. I look every hour after publishing to view my page analytics. I am not immune to it. None of us escape.
With every new unveiling of celebrity scandal or culture event, individuals, myself included, rush to social media to vocalize our pseudo moral opinions regarding a celebrity’s screw ups. We want to be politically correct in our rage, fitting our judgments within the majority opinion of society, or for those who find validation in being opposite, within the minority opinion of society. We rush to judge, rarely with facts, pronouncing guilt and shame on said celebrity or cultural event, then after 2 weeks, maybe longer, move on to the new event, rarely, if ever, returning to the original screw up at which we were so enraged.
It’s how life works these days. You won’t please everyone, and rarely please anyone. Yet we still try so hard, orienting our lives around validation from others and basing our self worth and purpose on what good we must accomplish. Never mind the fact that “good” is defined subjectively by the individual or a fleeting momentary societal opinion.
Back to the original point. In our search for validation, we perform to please ourselves. Okay, so some say they want to please others around them, but that’s a false front to please themselves. Truly, life all revolves around me. It always has. Yet, why then do we get all warm and fuzzy at stories of sacrifice or giving of oneself? Could it be that we innately know that we were made for more than self-gratification? At the core, your soul and mine recognizes there is more to life than self gratification.
If I am honest, I must admit being validated by others feels great, but it’s incredibly exhausting. I’m exhausted by projecting an image I want others to see. Constantly wishing to get to the next rung on the ladder of success. Hoping I will beat out my coworker for the promotion. But within the image I project, I still want people to see a guy who doesn’t love himself, who is selfless, considerate, kind and good. Truth is though, FAIL. I do love myself more than you. I can’t escape that prison of self. I’m constantly exhausting myself trying to prove I am worth something to you by doing all of these “self giving” things. I don’t want to do all these things for you. I want to do what I want. I want to say what I want to say and I want you to like it and agree with me. I want to find validation and purpose in life by “being something” or “being someone who makes a difference.” I know I’m not alone in this either. Your social media account alone proves it (and there are a myriad of others ways to prove it).
The secret is though, I’ve been granted all the approval I need, but keep on searching anyway. I’ve been adopted into the Royal Family, but keep unnecessarily working at Starbucks to cover my share of the bills. I can’t be kicked out. I’ve been grafted in! Yet, I don’t want to believe it. My heart wants to keep running. My brain tells me it’s not finished. I have to keep trying to prove I’m worthy and accepted, and I’ll never arrive at the point of worthiness like I desire.
But I’m so glad I’m not a body. I’m so glad I am a soul. You see, I (and you) merely have a body. The body doesn’t define me. It’s my soul that defines me. And my soul, has not been left wanting. My soul has been given an infinite amount of love and acceptance. I’ve been given what I didn’t deserve. I didn’t find it on my own. I’ve been given approval, acceptance and rest. I don’t have to work anymore to prove myself. As I constantly run around exhausting my body, I’m reminded of the generous Giver and the rest and worth I’ve been granted. My soul wants no longer. I can’t explain it all. I don’t know how to comprehend it. I’m not sure I even WANT to understand it. Only faith keeps it there.
I know you want to belong. You want to make a difference. You want to find rest. Maybe you are still searching like me. For some, you are being reminded now that your soul has been granted great purpose and approval.
For you, a reminder: Rest in your liberation. Revel in your adoption. Rejoice in your Royal Family. You no longer must work. It is finished.