Years ago, my friends and I started a Gift Basket business where we sold flowers, gift baskets, and balloons. Of course, Valentine’s Day was one of the busiest times of year for us. We soon learned that people preferred their orders to be delivered in a public place. Husbands and boyfriends would make plans by making sure we knew what time their significant others went to lunch and got off work. There was a certain degree of validation gained from this public display of love. We see a form of this everyday across social media. Photos, videos, and even couples going “live” when their lovers surprise them with flowers or a romantic dinner or just an evening with drinks by the fire may be a subtle hint for validation.
Social Media makes it difficult to refrain from comparing our lives to those streaming across our timelines. However, It’s important to remember that the images we see are often isolated snapshots or video montages of the entire event. We may never know what was going on in the background or for the rest of the evening.
In an article by Beverly D. Flaxington entitled, Seeking Validation Online Doesn’t’ Bring Real Happiness, she had this to say about social media:
People with high self-confidence are less negatively affected by social media than are those whose self-confidence is lacking. By constantly comparing themselves to apparently perfect images online, social media users whose self-confidence is lacking can become more anxious or depressed over what others seem to have and they don’t. That nagging feeling of not being able to measure up will only lead to less self-confidence and an erosion of self-worth. Each log-in can chip away just a bit more of any good feeling a person might have had.
But even those of us that feel like we have a healthy dose of self-esteem can be tricked into feeling unnoticed or unworthy if our posts fail to get the response, we see that others have. And on a day like today, when you may find yourself alone, watching movies and cooking dinner for one, social media posts of passionate, romantic dinners and gifts could easily leave one feeling invalidated
, undervalued, unloved, and lonely.
It’s a healthy choice to make peace with Valentine’s Day and decide to make new traditions that you commit to carrying out regardless of your relationship status. Show love and acts of kindness to family and friends, by being present and experiencing the love you have for each other and even love of self. It may not be love of a romantic sort but love in general has a way of making us feel wanted, included, and warm inside.
And let us not forget the greatest love of all, God. Now that’s a love that’s consistent and never ending and will never make you feel less than anyone or anything. Gain validation from knowing and accepting that and from within.
Happy Valentine’s Day!