Temptation of being a Validation Vampire
By Eric Dahlinger
I am a validation vampire… What do I mean by this? I want to suck the attention and approval of everyone around me. I want people to notice my existence and commend me for it. I know, I know this sounds like the most desperate and needy thing anyone has ever decided to write on the internet (okay that is not true). But it is not just me; it is a product of my whole generation. It is displayed on social media all the time, how many likes and followers on instagram is very important to a lot of us. In fact part of me writing this blog is about getting peoples validation through readership.
Personally I feel this extreme need for validation comes from our childhood and all of our participation trophies. Growing up, we were all told how amazing we all were and that we are special… the truth is most of us aren’t, it is okay. And when we become adults the world stopped telling us how amazing we were… AKA shit got real. People wouldn’t give us a gold star for mediocre work, people would not tell us we did a good job if we did what was simply what was expected from us. The rug was pulled from beneath us.
*side note, millennials never asked for participation trophies, they were given to us by the generation above us.
But you know what did give us our gold star… social media. Myspace, Facebook, and newest of all Instagram gave us the validation we have been craving as adults. But there is one major problem with this… we have to give the validation to each other. This is why we are validation vampires; we actually want to take it away from our peers. Life on the web has become a competition of sorts. As kids we were all too self centred to realize every kid got a trophy, we thought we were special… but now in order to feel ‘special’ we must receive more likes then each other. We know longer excite in our own bubble, so we are constantly creating a high light reel in order to prove how absolutely amazing and special we are. Even the ‘hipster’ scene is about finding something everyone will like before they do, so they can take credit and feel special.
I am not really sure what the answer is because honestly I like social media and I don’t think social media is the problem; I think it has just given us a vice to our problems. Giving it up isn’t going to make us feel more validated. The ‘Fear of missing’ out or feelings of being less then will still be there because we know people are doing more cool, different, exciting stuff all the time. I guess we all just have to give our selves a break and realize, ‘you can’t compare your life to someone else’s highlight reel’
*Side note, many ideas were probably not originally mine, but have since crept into my thoughts with out retaining the original source. I apologize for any accidental plagiarism.