- Posted May 4, 2014 by
Acceptance, Validation…Basic Human Needs
by Lucy Connor
I love listening to Oprah on Sirius Radio when I drive. There is a package that runs frequently between segments and it features a quote from her Oprah Show Finale. “Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?” Oprah maintains that her realization that everyone has this desire in common helped her keep an open mind and be less judgmental as a talk show host for those many years.
Historically, I have been a people pleaser. I have worked hard to get validation from the people I loved and especially from those that I wanted to love me back. I will say that there are times that I have lost sight of my true self in the quest to get people to validate me. I have made poor decisions, been less than courageous and have forsaken my integrity in the unrelenting search for acceptance. I have wondered if I am good enough for anyone to take as a partner forever, or if I would just drive someone crazy. I still have remnants of the people pleaser in me, but not as a controlling force in my life.
As an older woman, single again and looking for the possibility of a romance, acceptance of self is paramount. If you do not know who you are, respect who you are and love who you are, you are dead in the water. The search to find love and acceptance from another must start with love and acceptance of yourself. As a young woman, I counted on my brains and my physically attractive qualities to attract a potential mate. I was cute and had a good personality but basically not a great dating record in the duration sense. I lied to myself each time a romance ended and rationalized that I was just not well versed in sticking around one person for any length of time. In the back of my head though, was the nagging feeling that I was simply not good enough for anyone to want to stay around me after they got to know the real me.
Eventually, I married someone that I “knew” was better than me in every sense of the word. He was prettier, more personable, more confident, and maybe even smarter. I spent 27 years trying to get validation from him that was permanent, non-judgmental, consistent and pure. I cannot say that it ever happened. I learned, after my divorce, that truly, I had to accept myself before anyone else could accept me. This is something I have worked hard to accomplish.
I am a teacher and every day I practice Oprah’s mantra with my students. I try to see them, hear them and value what they have to say without judging them. I know how much my students need to feel my love and acceptance and though some days, it is hard, it is a high priority in my classroom that they are each accepted and safe.
When it boils down to it, if you feel as though you are not seen, heard or valued, you do not feel safe. You feel as though at any moment relationships could fall apart, and you could be forgotten.
As a woman over 40 and, navigating the dating world, I have to always be on my toes so that I do not re-lapse into the people-pleasing, needy woman I once was. I have accepted myself and am grateful for the woman I have become. For the first time in my life, I believe that I should not be my partner’s second choice. I should not be ignored, over-looked or talked down to. I know that in order for any relationship to flourish at this point in my life, my partner and I have to ask ourselves every day, “Do I see him? Do I hear her? Does what my partner is saying matter?” When we can say yes, every moment of every day, then we have achieved in our partnership the one thing we all long for. Acceptance and Validation.