Synopsis: Your stamp explained; who controlled your validation; who owns it; okayness elections; self love stamping; your giveaways and get backs; owning and self validating as an adult.
When you were growing up your parents, or whoever was raising you day by day, either ‘stamped you’ as OK or not OK. According to how you got stamped you were either lovable or not lovable, wanted or not wanted, accepted or rejected, worthy or unworthy, good or bad, etc. Then maybe when you got to be a teenager Mother Nature influenced you to turn the stamp over to your peers, age mates, or to older teens, etc.
It could be that somewhere along the way you thought you ‘fell in love’ and you turned your okayness and love-ability validation stamp over to your boyfriend or girlfriend, along with the stamp pad and all the ink. In a new, huge way your lover was your validator of whether you were lovable and OK, or not. You might have been taking the beginning steps on the road to getting good at self validation – until you felt you fell in love, and then that special other person’s validation trumped your own and everybody else’s.
Then again, maybe you were one of those people who only could get okayness from those with some kind of higher or special status. Consequently, you might have done everything you could to conform to their ‘popularity standards’ no matter whether or not those reference points were full of pressure, peculiarity or even perversity. Maybe like so many you got stuck at one of these levels where the opinions of others count way more than your independent, self derived opinion of yourself counts. If so, that makes you what is called outer-dependent and other-dependent instead of inner-dependent and self-dependent. The problem with outer-dependency is that it counters healthy self-love development. Arrested development of healthy self-love gets in the way of healthy love relationship development which is enriched by co-equality, mutuality and democratic partnership – in other words, development of the best kind, according to many specialists in this field.
I like to go back to the great, ancient, marvelously encompassing, superbly enlightening, incredibly comprehensive, three or more thousand-year-old admonition which simply instructs us to “Love Others as You Love Yourself”. No wonder the one we call Jesus chose that and proclaimed it to be one of his only two great commandments. It covers and explains so very much. I suggest loving others as you love yourself is the secret key (hidden in plain sight) to the success of love relationships in general.
This admonition strongly relates to the idea of ‘validation love stamps’. You see, if as an adult you give away your validation stamp to others for them to certify you as OK or not OK, as lovable or not, etc. you probably are not doing a very good job of the “As You Love Yourself” part of that extremely important and applicable, wisdom teaching.
Let’s look at one way of understanding the validation stamp process. In childhood your okayness and love-ability validation comes from your parents and those who raise you. For your survival you are dependent on them and their validation. As adolescence is approached your okayness and love-ability, along with acceptability for inclusion, validation begins to come from your peers. This inclusion desire sometimes seems to become of supreme importance. However, when achieving true adulthood your primary validation comes from yourself. Another way to say this is to say that as a true adult you get 51% (or more) of the vote on your own okayness. If all the world votes you as OK, and you do not, you win. Likewise, if all the world votes you as not OK, but you vote the opposite, you win the vote but not okayness. This is only true if you have become primarily self validating. If you stamp yourself as OK, you are, and you feel it and you act that way. This does not mean that you ignore the rest of the world. A wise person takes in counsel, viewpoints, etc. of others but doesn’t give them a personal stamp of primary approval.
The history of the great contributors to the world is a history of those who retained their stamp of self approval even when it seemed like most of the world was trying to take it away from them. Certainly your most beloved and dear family members, and your closest, trusted friends, and maybe occasionally even your enemies should get votes in your okayness election which, by the way, happens everyday. However, in most situations it’s best if your own, independent vote on yourself out-votes everybody else’s.
This means, in regard to validation, it not only is okay for you to get back what you perhaps gave away but it’s essential to your health and well-being to be the keeper of your own validation stamp. Every validation ‘giveaway’ can become a ‘get back’. Those who really love you want you to have the ability to validate yourself. Their praises and compliments, etc. often help but your self-validation will count more. That doesn’t make you egotistical, stuck up or a snob. It just will make you self-accurate and able to more freely do your love from a self-dependent, co-equal stance.
A few words of caution are in order. Sometimes it is ‘the internal voter who was programmed into our head’ from our past who we give our validation stamp away to. If we’re thinking “what would they think, or say” and none of them are in our life anymore, it’s time for an ‘inner election system redistricting’. Concern about peer approval subconsciously may relate back to the in-group of kids from your seventh grade. By-the-way, we still can honor and value our parents, grandparents and everybody else in family and friendship networks without giving them too many votes in our okayness and love-ability elections.
In olden times if the king, or some other ‘royal’, stamped you okay, you were. If a royal stamped you not OK, you weren’t; and there wasn’t much you could do about it. That sort of thing is what motivated a lot of people to come to the New World and get with this idea we call democracy. Today you may give away your validation stamp of approval, okayness and love-ability to all sorts of groups who will be glad to take it in order to control you, get money, sex or other valuables from you, and even make you one of their minions. This can happen in business, religion, politics, status seeking, money, the arts, sports, fashion, the professions and in just about any group you can think of.
Remember, you don’t have to let them possess your stamp or control your sense of inner self-validation. Until quite recently, and still in many circles, being married was a validating stamp for women. For men validation was, and still is, mostly about power and status symbols of some kind or another. Classifications and symbols can be nice but they may not tell you much about substance.
So now, the challenge is to think this over and examine yourself as to whether or not you are unnecessarily and unhealthfully giving away your validating love stamp to others to make you OK or not OK. Perhaps you are doing a good job of internal self-validation, in which case, what you just read will be a good reinforcement for that. If not, I suggest you start asking yourself who you give away your stamp to, and what are you going to do about that?
As always – Go and Grow in Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
♥ Love Success Question
With those you love are you influencing them to ‘own’ and ‘practice’ their own self-validating?