Everyone knows that social media is one of the main sources of emotional validation for people these days. We post pictures or statuses and wait for comments and likes to roll in, heralding the support and approval of others.
You might be thinking, "What's wrong with that?" Many people will tell you that it creates an inflated ego, or perpetuates a false sense of security, or leads to comparison. While they may be right to some extent, the bigger issue is that when we get our validation from inanimate, external sources, we lose the ability to validate ourselves.
What happens when you are angry at your friend because she didn't pay you back, or you're upset because someone looked at you the wrong way and you're pretty sure they hate you? Chances are, you're not posting that on social media, because it doesn't agree with the image of yourself that you perpetuate online.
You probably turn to the next best thing: text or private messages. Whether that means a Snapchat to a friend, a post on a private account with a few select followers, or a quick group text to your closest pals, it is easier to turn to others for immediate comfort and acknowledgement.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with needing attention or validation from others, technology and social media in general have made it so accessible that we tend to forget that we can be our own biggest supporters. When we receive an influx of validation for the carefully curated collection of positives from our life, it is easy to fall into the mindset that we only matter, or that people only care, if we are happy, successful, and thriving.
We stop reaching out to friends and it is easier to keep negative feelings to ourselves. No one wants to see the ugly parts of someone else's life, anyway - right? What we are left with, though, is a slew of negative emotions and no means of validating our own experiences because we have become so accustomed to the validation of others.
When emotions or experiences are not validated, they can not be resolved. The buildup of unvalidated emotion can create overwhelming stress and anger.
It is easy to get comfortable with the approval of others, but try to remember it is in your best interest to acknowledge your own feelings continuously. Good or bad, remind yourself that what you are going through is valid and real, and no one can judge you for it. You are allowed to be angry or sad or stressed, no matter what the reason. You are allowed to be happy even when you feel it is not appropriate.
Your feelings are your feelings. There is no right or wrong to them. There is only feeling something, and as long as you feel it, it is valid.