Fear and insecurities: why we seek justification or validation

Once upon a time many moons ago I remember asking someone why they carry the dog poop all the way home when they could just throw it in the receptacle at the park.

“This way no one can accuse me of not picking up the dog poop,” was the answer.

I remember thinking even back then, that this is ridiculous. Why does one need to prove something like this to some random stranger?

But a small piece of me took this at face value, and it stayed with me.

This mentality is a big part of the reason why I feel this incessant need to justify everything to everyone. The fear of being accused of something, no matter how minor the alleged infraction, and not being able to prove myself, is alive and well today.

This is causing me grief.

I’m going through some introspection here.

Did this incident sow the seeds of insecurities and fear?

I don’t want this to continue, and I don’t want the kids to get this way. One is already traveling down that road a little bit…

Can I make it stop?

The first step would be to stop justifying myself to everyone. Right? (See? I just did it again…)

I don’t owe anyone any explanations as to why I choose to carry dog poop home, or not. (I don’t, I toss it as quickly as I can. But I do pick it up every time.)

Did I just do it again? 🤔

I do not owe anyone anything, explanations or justifications. I know this instinctively, and yet….

How does one become this way?

By justifying every conceivable decision, am I hoping to avoid critique, or unsolicited advice?

If you randomly search new mom blogs, you’ll inevitability run across a familiar sentiment. They start with a justification that they love their family, their kids are the light of their lives, they chose to be this or that yada yada YADA only to launch into a rant about what has their knickers in a knot about said family.

(I may have done this myself, many times over. This is why I’m writing this post.)

Is it necessary to state out loud that a mom drowning in self-pity loves her family? Even though it’s instinctively understood? I mean, when I read something like that today, many years into parenting, it feels redundant. Unnecessary.

Obviously you love your family, just like I do. Even when they do drive you crazy at times. 🙃

I remember a former neighbour up the street, a mom with two very active little boys who has since moved away. She invited a bunch of us over and upon entering her house immediately said:

I know it’s a mess, judge me all you want.

I marveled at that statement because first of all, her house didn’t look like a mess. It looked lived in, the way it does when you have multiple kids under the age of 6.

Besides, my house at the time looked worse.

But her voice, her confidence and ‘I don’t give a shit what people think’ attitude stayed with me.

Why didn’t this scenario help me grow a thicker skin?

What is it about fear and insecurities when it comes to other people and what they may or may not think?

Given how busy and hectic life is for most of us, whether we are in the parenting trenches or not, it’s a wonder why we give that kind of power to everyone else’s opinions.

Who has the mental capacity to take on other people’s crap?

And yet, we explain things. Justify things. Analyze. Compare. Talk about things to convince someone that some things are this, or that.

Why do we do this? Do we want something?

Validation?

Empathy?

Commiseration?

I’m pondering here…

So this is what to do instead:

If someone wants to know something, they can ask. Doesn’t mean there will be an answer.

If there is an answer, it could be, should be, without lengthy explanations, justifications and all the rest of it.

Are you able to do this?

I wonder if I can do this.

At least, I’m trying to break that habit of explaining, justifying…

While I’m typing this up, another thought popped into my head.

Am I seeking validation, or approval, from you? Here I am typing my justification issues into my blog, looking for feedback…

I mean, we have dialogue and engagement here on these pages…what is it exactly that I want people to think, to say, when they read this here?

Then, another thing popped into my head. (No wonder I’m getting a headache…)

Maybe this is what it means to grow up. Am I finally growing up? 🙄

It took several decades for me to realize that growing up doesn’t happen on your 18th birthday, or your 21st birthday…which tells me parenting my kids is not going to be over anytime soon.

But how do I go about solving my dilemma? How do I learn to not explain myself so much?

It’s not exactly easy, me being me. I like accuracy and clear-cut understandings of things. Facts. Evidence. And sharing that with everyone.

Knowledge is power, no?

But how much knowledge is necessary?

I prefer to plan and organize and be prepared. I like telling people I’m doing something and then explain why I do it. And how, or when, if I’m on a roll. (Me being me. 😂)

Maybe the answer lies in this little poem:

A wise old owl sat in an oak.
The more he saw the less he spoke.
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?

Perhaps that’s it. The trick is to stop talking so much.

What do you think?

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24 thoughts on “Fear and insecurities: why we seek justification or validation

  1. Wow. There is so much to contemplate in this post. Do you notice that it’s women that seem to try and justify themselves more than men? I see that.

    I think, for myself, that need to justify everything I do, think, and believe is rooted in several things. General Anxiety, for one. That part of me that always needed my Dad’s approval. It seems to have shifted over into just needing or wanting it from other people now, though I think I’m making great strides in this department.

    Gosh. Just a lot to think on. I see why it keeps you up at night! I’ll probably chew on this for a while!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Here’s what helped me…just stop doing it. My Grannie once gave me advice about an email I was sending (I might have a post coming up about this). Anywho, I was telling her about how I was explaining to my boss how I couldn’t make a meeting because I had this and that to do with my girls, etc. And she was like, you’re giving her too much information. All she needs to know is you can’t make the meeting. Ever since then, I’ve not only stopped with TMI emails, but also TMI text replies (e.g., I’m sorry but I was driving). I mean who cares? We want the person to not judge us but I really think…who cares? I hope this isn’t off-topic lol But I think this is where you can start, with little things.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well, and mainly because it’s irrelevant. So, I shouldn’t have said no one cares lol But rather, it’s irrelevant info. Sometimes I used to give all this extra info for the same reason you’re bringing doggy poo back to the house, so people know that you’re not a fill-in-the-blank type of person.

        Liked by 1 person

      • There are people in my life who will say to me “I have an apt on x day” and I always wonder
        1) why they don’t say what the apt is (it’s really none of my business) and
        2) why I care what the apt is. “What’s your apt?” I might say innocently…and they may or may not answer. I mean, they don’t owe me an answer, just like I don’t either…

        Am I making conversation? Or are we simply stating that x day doesn’t work for lunch bec of an apt that is none of my business?

        “I can’t that day” should be enough under most circumstances. “I can’t that day bec x has do be chauffeured to y” may be required when talking to the spouse, a grandparent, or whatever, but not every Joe Blow in your life. 😛

        I’m learning. Slowly. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Perhaps that’s it. The trick is to stop talking so much.
    That line is something we should read and reread. Too many people talk too much and fail to listen. If we all listened, really listened, this world would be a better place. We would be more empathetic, more caring and understanding and helpful. There’s so much selfishness in today’s world. I’m on a bit of a tangent. But I just spent a day with a family member who is always all about her and her family and her opinion.
    I’m a bit off-topic, on a tangent. It’s natural, I think, to justify our decisions in the face of expected criticisms.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I got better about this sort of thing once I got clean and started working steps. I am starting to feel like I am enough, and “no” is a complete and grammatically correct sentence. It takes some digging to get there, and I wish you much luck, my friend😙

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It all sounds very normal to me, and the growing up – the evolving – the thickening of our skin – we’re just going to have to accept that it’s going to be ongoing. Yeah, I want to be “done” NOW, but that’s obviously impossible. One way I’ve gotten much better at letting others simply have their judgement is … just kidding … I don’t have any pointers. It drives me bonkers to know that someone is judging or misunderstanding me. I dwell on it for days, weeks, (months in the case of my newspaper column that so many neighbors have read wrong and taken personally). I wish I weren’t that way, but I know it will get better with age. At least at this point I’m not still running around trying to remedy all the misunderstandings. Even if it still bothers me for a time. It’s now just an internal battle.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think a lot of us try to justify our decisions perhaps unconsciously seeking approval. I discovered this about myself recently when I ‘grew up’ lol. I also realized that this was probably because I grew up in a home where one of my parents was very suspicious and I was blamed for all sorts of things that I wasn’t doing. I spent maybe a decade trying to explain and defend and prove innocence …and when I moved out I brought that with me unconsciously and it took over 20 years for me to figure that out….but it’s all about growth and evolution which I think should be an ongoing process if we are living life right! ❤️ your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I throw the dog’s poop in my pooper scooper in the bushes sometimes near the park. I think I do it more because I feel watched sometimes. Will she do the right thing? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Last night I watched from our window as an enormous dog pooed in front of our house and the owners then moved on. “The less he spoke,the more he heard.” I do agree with that. Sometimes you have to count your blessings quietly and hope they last.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! That’s true.

      And people who leave their dog poop on other people’s properties suck. I mean, really? Sigh…

      One time I walked a small dog and had a dog poop bag in hand that looked full of her poop. She was the size of a poodle. We walked past a guy on his front lawn staring at a large pile of poop, the kind a mastiff, or a Shepherd would leave. He looked at me and said ‘is this from your dog’ then looked at my dog and went ‘never mind’. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  8. There are a few quotes about other people’s opinions that I love.
    1. Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.
    2. If you know yourself, you’ll not be harmed by what is said about you.

    And I must weigh in on the apologizing for a messy house. My mother kept an immaculate home, I don’t and never have. I saw how much work it took. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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