This is a tough question for me. I am ashamed of who I used to be, and what I used to do to receive validation.
I ran into an old friend recently who asked me what I’ve been up to for the past twenty years. Part of my answer, for some reason, was that I turned my life around. I have no idea why I said it, but it prompted him to ask me what that meant.
He knew me when I was at my worst.
The conversation led to us discussing validation. I admitted that, when I was in my early twenties, I used to crave validation. I remember feeling like I wasn’t worth anything to anyone unless I was giving them what they wanted. This mentality caused me to be taken for granted in many situations, but I know it was my own fault. I kept doing the same things over and over in order to feel worthy of the attention.
Some of the things I’ve done still haunt me today.
I remember, vividly, being in certain situations thinking, “Why am I doing this? This is not me! I hate this! I hate that I keep doing this!”
I knew who I wasn’t, but I did not know who I was.
I wanted to stop.
Stop being the girl with no identity.
I remember the first time I met someone who liked me for who I was. I wanted to know the person they saw. I wanted to meet her.
If you’ve ever seen the movie “Thirteen Going On Thirty,” being with this person was similar to thirteen-year-old Jennifer Garner waking up as her thirty-year-old self. When she saw herself in the mirror, she was forced to see who she had become.
I looked at this new “mirror” friend with confusion. I was showered with acceptance and affirmation for no reason.
I met more people like my mirror friend.
And then, I met their source of love.
It didn’t happen immediately. It took a long time – about twenty years actually – to truly feel the depth of it.
I started to value myself.
My identity emerged when I finally allowed the love to overtake me.
Nothing I did, or could do, would provide true validation.
Only His love.