Do We Need Validation?

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Reading the transcript of Oprah’s last show, an interesting paragraph struck me, where she said;

““I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation. If I could reach through this television and sit on your sofa or sit on a stool in your kitchen right now, I would tell you that every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?’”

My mind took me back to so many years back. Maybe I was 13 or 14, I don’t really remember. All I remember is that we were in Kenya; in my grandmother’s house to be more exact. We had family members over from other parts of Kenya, so the house was full of fujo (noise). I was sick that day, and I was resting on a mattress on the floor of my grandmother’s room.

Lying there, in my sick state, I was really upset because nobody had come to check up on me, as everybody was busy with the guests. And I was feeling terrible physically and emotionally. Then somebody left the fujo in the living room and actually came to me and asked about how I was feeling.

I think that’s my first experience with this need for validation; or at least, it’s one that has touched me so much that I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. And looking back, it makes me realize, that sometimes it’s the small words that make a big difference. If my brother ever becomes a president of anything, I would link it to his habit of connecting with the common folks. Like when he rides into a cab, he asks the driver, “Where are you from?” And when the driver says, “Pakistan,” he continues with, “Where in Pakistan?”

And suddenly, the two of them sit and talk about that specific region of Pakistan even though my brother’s never set foot there, but I think he’s spoken with enough Pakistanis to know the whole region.

Or when he goes to a bakery and orders something, he genuinely stops with the cashier and asks him, “How is business?”

And people end up sharing more than they’d feel comfortable sharing with a stranger they probably won’t see again. But you see, he connects with them, he validates them, tells them that their voice truly matters, because if things had been different it could have been him in their place, lonely for a person to speak with, hoping for someone to validate them…

So I guess, this is today’s message for you; remember that we all want validation. We want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?’”

Ciao…

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7 thoughts on “Do We Need Validation?

    Nasrin said:
    May 31, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    It’s always the small words and gestures that make the biggest difference and has the most impact on someone emotionally but unfortunately not everyone is aware of that :(…nice post mashaAllah and Mabruk on publishing your short story 🙂

    AH responded:
    June 1, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Nasrin, thanks for ur continuous support!!

    Shireen said:
    June 1, 2011 at 6:35 am

    I know exactly what validation feels like and that is the reason why I check up with anyone who seems a bit sad or lost to me even if it is just the second time that i am meeting that person.

    P.s. I have a question for you, How would you define the connection between a writer and a reader?

    AH responded:
    June 1, 2011 at 6:54 am

    What do you mean? The way I see it, is that there’s a personal connection and an impersonal connection. The impersonal connection is through the writing where the reader sees what the writer sees/thinks through their writing, and the writer sorta connects with the reader because they’re writing about common issues that everybody deals with. The personal connection is when the reader and writer get to actually know each other and build a common platform as a result of the relationship. For example, this blog or any other personal blog, because of the personal connectiosn with the reader, u’ll see that the blog contents develop with what the readers expect/like. Did that answer ur question?

    rasha said:
    June 1, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Great piece 🙂

    Shireen said:
    June 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Yeah, I think it does. Thanks.

    Be true to yourself « A Heart's Echoes said:
    April 22, 2015 at 2:03 am

    […] else thinks we’re happy or successful, it doesn’t mean we’ll cry less tears. And yet it’s human nature to seek validation. At some point we might have been seeking it offline, nowadays, our self-worth is measured by the […]

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