The validation drug

Being with others that share your same views makes you happy because it validates your views and validation makes you feel happy about yourself. Feeling happy about yourself therefore makes you happy. But if you need others to make you feel happy about yourself then you will need others to feel happy and will therefore be unhappy most of the time because you are alone most of the time.

So the trick is to  feel happy about yourself without needing others to make it so, so that you can be happy without needing others. The act of validation can take many forms. Some people might feel validated when they earn money after performing a specific task. Or even merely by the act of bringing pleasure or satisfaction to someone. A comedian, for instance, feels validated when people laugh at his jokes. A massage therapist might feel validated when her clients moan to her touch. A doctor when a patient is healed. A cook when the food is all eaten and enjoyed. Or even an every day act of kindness will give each of us a sense of feeling validated and valued. A sense that “I am useful and appreciated.”

Validation is, therefore, one of the primary manias driving human activity. This is why more is never enough and we’ve built ourselves an entire civilization that will build, build and build in this constant quest for satisfaction. One of my favorites recently said:

“… the appetite of (human) desire has a mouth that is perpetually open and we must learn how to control it. It begins with the knowledge of self and sealing our appreciation of self that it remain secure and not become as a black hole that swallows light itself. Only then will the human being be satisfied and stop her never ending quest for more.” ~HC Mehdi

Whenever we are seeking things outside of us in order to satisfy the void within us, it’s no different than eating. It may fill us for a short while, but inevitably the appetite returns. So unless we learn to derive tremendous satisfaction by merely being alive we will persist in transforming the earth into our personal playground and vanity mirror.

It’s quite possible none of this will change, of course. Perhaps the feeling of emptiness inside us is simply part of what makes us human. The very evolutionary trait that drives progress, innovation and all those things that make us different from the animal. For unlike them when our stomach is full we find some other void to fill and will perform all manner of tricks to fool ourselves into thinking we are filling it.

There is plenty of room in the universe for such a creature but we must venture out and find the worlds that will have us so we don’t destroy the only one we have.

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