Existential Psychology

Asking For Validation

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When many of us ask for advice what we’re actually asking for is validation. We’re not really interested in changing anything about our current situations, and we’re especially not interested in changing the defects and flaws in our own perceptions and behaviors.

What we are interested in is hearing that we’re dong everything right, that the distress we’re experiencing is fully attributable to someone or something out there not anything inside of us.

This is one of the reasons why so few of us actually end up following the advice we ask for. It’s because there’s a disconnect between what we say we’re asking for and what we’re actually asking for. We don’t want to look at the problem before us critically, and we don’t want to undertake any of the difficult steps in changing it, steps that would require us to look inwards, to recognize our contribution to the problem, and to step outside of our comfort zone to make important changes.

Instead what we want is validation. Maybe what we secretly want to hear is that there’s nothing more that we could be doing than what we already are doing, that it’s someone or something else that needs to do the adjusting to get a more desirable outcome. 

If we were actually sincere in our requests for advice we’d spend a lot more time considering that advice. Instead we quickly and forcefully come up with rationalizations and excuses, to the advice giver and to ourselves, in order to try to prove the suggested course of action just isn’t feasible.