Mrs. Frugalwoods writes:
I used to spend a lot of time and money in service of impressing other people. I worried about what people might think of me and constantly searched for external validation. And to what end? It didn’t make me happy. It was a waste of all my precious resources–money included–and it didn’t lead me any closer to discovering my passion. It was only when I stopped doing this that I reached fulfillment and contentment.
In many ways, whether we are aware of it or not, we do try to impress others. As social creatures, interpersonal relationships are important for peace of mind, health, and community. However, the ways in which we make those connections are sometimes at a cost to ourselves, especially if we do not choose the right people to “impress” in the first place.
That is not a good kind of external validation. Good external validation can help us test our sense of reality and gives opportunities for growth. With the reflection than can come from good external connection, we develop an internal voice, which leads to internal validation that becomes internal motivation. For some, religion provides a structure, for others ethics or philosophy. This helps us choose how we behave.
External validation and external motivation, as the sole locus, lead to victimization, not self-efficacy. In very simple terms, if we answer to ourselves honestly and understand ourselves, that can be what motivates us changes. We move from victim to action figure!
In Mrs. Frugalwood’s email, she writes: Today’s mantra: In the end, the only person who truly cares how you lived your life is you. I couldn’t agree more. What I do at work has little impact on the world as a whole, but it may impact the world in ways I do not know, for good or evil. By the same token, our financial choices decide our future – do we spend, do we continue in debt, or do we change our internal voice and manage our money better?
As children, we learn to behave in certain ways to please our parents. We adapt. Today’s helicopter parents and applauders are ruining their kids – without the ability to fail, there is little need to succeed or change, and the expectation is always to be a success, no matter what.