As human beings, we are social creatures by nature. We have needs that shape our values. We all have a story that is dying to be shared….
At the core of personal value is the need to be understood. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs this need comes just behind that of survival. The need to be understood is an extension of what Maslow called Acceptance. Whether or not the reality is present, we need to feel understood.
Think about the last time you competed in a race, gave a public speaking presentation or even went out on a date. The minute you finish, you are most interested in what? This is precisely when our need for validation is at its highest. We ask ourselves and even of others: “How’d I do” or “Was that ok” or even “What could I have done better?”
Think about these questions being in the minds of people you encounter—people in your community, in your workplace, and at home. In some ways the nature of the relationship doesn’t matter and in other ways the more intimate that relationship, the more important the answers to these questions become. Here they are again:
1. Was that okay?
2. Do you see me?
3. Did what I say [or do] mean anything to you?
The world is full of messages that tell us we’re not okay. All the devices we use to stay connected disconnect us in so many ways. Why not take every opportunity you get to let someone know that they’re better than okay; you know they’re there; and yes, what they say and do does mean something to you.
So back to that story that rests inside us all…..
HOW DO WE EARN THE RIGHT TO SHARE OUR STORY? SIMPLE…WE SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND RATHER THAN TO BE UNDERSTOOD.
Never underestimate the power of validation!