The Opposite Of Validation Is Shame
I spend a great deal of time reading commentary and news on the changing trends in American culture. Our culture is obviously not static. Social expectations shift. This is to be expected within any culture. Even the most traditional cultures will change. The pace of change is increasing because of changing technology and the influences of one culture upon another culture.
There is a cultural shift that creates the social expectation to be more “progressive”, a word with so many murky connotations that it’s almost useless as an adjective and noun. I far more prefer the term “individualism”. For better and worse, our culture is moving to one that is solely focused on the actions and words of the individual, not the group. But this is in direct conflict with our basic human need to be social, to be connected.
Our need to be connected is manifested by the intense desire to be similar with others around us and accepted by those same folks. This is easily seen on the school yard with peer pressure and peer acceptance. As adults, we naturally tend to associate with others like ourselves. Those not like us are the “others”. This is wired into our DNA. I’m making no value judgements on this. It just is.
From this comes the concept of validation. This is where the individual seeks approval from the group and other individuals. In the realm of attraction and dating, this is need to be desirable to the opposite sex so that an attraction can be established. There are many means to increase one’s desirability. Men and women do things differently but the end result is the same.
There is a natural reaction when a person does not receive validation. That reaction is shame. Rejection is the feeling that is expressed publicly, it’s the shame that wraps itself around our souls and burrows into our psyches. A string of rejections is especially brutal. This is why guys are encouraged to have a thick skin and prepare for such rejections.
People drop out of dating completely without the validation of desirability. It is because of the shame they feel. Of course, it’s unlikely that any one person would admit to this shame. This is no matter, the actions of the dating drop-out say far much more. That person gave up because of the lack of validation and the subsequent feelings of shame.
Our individualistic culture is responding, badly, to the pressures of the need to be socially validated. All sorts of “acceptance” social propaganda campaigns are being pushed into our culture. The attempt is to turn political correctness into personal correctness. Our actions, or words, everything about us must be influenced and controlled but a minority of people who simply can’t get the validation they need from the group. That group is us, the average folks, the “normies”.
What is between our ears and in our DNA simply cannot be controlled by the terrible unreality of contemporary social expectations. This is made completely obvious by the millions of online dating profiles where preferences are made clear. OKCupid has brilliantly data mined their databases and communications among subscribers. Attraction preferences are made unambiguously clear with this research. Those preferences fall along our DNA-based desire to be part of a group of like-minded individuals. Why do affinity-based online dating websites even exist?
Of course there are exceptions. The study of statistics regarding human behavior yields consistent results. Think about the bell curve. It is our human nature to focus on those exceptions and so a logical fallacy surfaces. We assume the actions of a small group are reflective on what happens to the larger group. This is simply untrue. Frankly, assuming the exception is reflective of the general does extraordinary social and personal harm. Putting someone on the cover of a magazine doesn’t mean we must accept that person’s decisions. If someone wants to be validated, he/she must do that knowing how our biology works regarding validation and shame. It’s not pretty. It’s real.
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