First let's look at the definition according to Bing:
[ válli dàyt ]
1. confirm truthfulness of something: to confirm or establish the truthfulness or soundness of something
2. law make something legal: to declare or render something legal or binding "validate a passport"
3. register something formally: to register something formally and have its use officially sanctioned
4. make somebody feel valued: to make somebody feel valued as a person, or feel that his or her ideas or opinions are worthwhile
I would like to focus on #4.
Validation is the act of making somebody feel valued: to make somebody feel valued as a person, or feel that his or her ideas or opinions are worthwhile.
Not too long ago I read an article online about teens and social networking. It startled me to realize how much of a kid's self esteem is tied to whether or not they get enough "likes" on their pictures or status updates on social networking sites. Some will attend parties just to be able to take pictures and post updates showing their presence on the scene. Like I said, it startled me. And made me think...
Am I really so different from these kids? I will admit it gives me a thrill every time I see a "like" or a comment to something I post on Facebook (my social media of choice). And since I have been dabbling with Twitter, I find myself hurt when strangers don't respond to the tweets I send them. And then there is this blog. If I could I think I might send out a virus to every computer owned by every person I know that would open a link to my blog automatically when I post something and then the window wouldn't close until they had read it AND posted a comment. (let's be glad I am NOT capable of this.)
As I am writing this I am glancing at my other screen, (yes, we have 2, my hubby did it. I thought it was crazy, but now I use it more than he does) monitoring my Facebook, Twitter, and email accounts. This cannot be healthy. But I can't seem to stop. I crave the status updates and comments, I can't seem to risk missing a single email. I am sick. Sicker than those kids, because at 41 I know better.
I am seeking my validation in all the wrong places. Now, don't get me wrong, social media has it's place and short of a zombie or alien apocalypse (or the 2nd coming) I think it's here to stay. And it has it's uses. I have reconnected with old friends and been able to keep up with family in ways that were impossible before. I have found great sources of inspiration and humor online. I have read words that really made me think and see my world in a new way. All because I have an internet connection.
But I have a deeper connection inside me. One that isn't contingent on my ability to pay my phone bill. I have a direct line to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He loved me so much that he gave me the ultimate validation before I breathed my 1st breath. He gave his precious son for me, to wash me clean and give me a second chance to live this life in His light. Talk about making someone feel valued.
I would like to ask you to pray for me. Pray that I will remember this truth, and that it will grow in my heart and shape how I use the internet and social media. Because I don't think I am meant to turn off the computer and walk away. I think that I am doing some good here, that I am following God's will for my life. But I need to find and maintain my balance. I need to remember where my heart lies. Where my true validation lies.