Free Smiles with Validation

Has anyone seen this short film, “Validation,” starring T.J. Thyne (Bones) on the magic of free parking?  I have to warn you, it’s 16 minutes, but if you don’t have time to watch it now, come back later to take a look.  It’s a cute film.

It truly is magic when you think about it, how the smallest compliment can brighten the rest of a person’s day.  It takes ten seconds to give, but the effects last for hours.  I remember one time I had just come from lunch with someone who made me feel really down about myself.  A young guy stopped me in the parking lot–granted, he was asking for money–but even after I declined with an apology, he said, “Do me a favor, stay beautiful.”

You can laugh at the cheesiness, heck, I did.  But in that moment, man how I needed to hear that.  I was smiling all the way back to my car and the drive home.

It’s easy to get hung up on one perspective of validation.  We seek it in certain areas: work, writing, family, relationships.  And when we don’t get it, we start to feel down, and that feeling bleeds into other areas of our lives.  We begin to doubt everything about ourselves.  We come to rely on validation for our self-worth.

I often think of validation as confirmation that I have it all together, or I’m perfect.  Well, that’s an illusion right there, and certainly not what validation means.  So many facets make up my person.  And when I get validation in one small part, it catches fire like a trail of gunpowder, igniting and inspiring the rest of me.

This does bring up one issue, which some of you might share–I don’t always do well at accepting compliments.   I’m not saying I don’t love them!  Seriously, hearing someone say they loved my book sends me over the moon!  I just try to hide it.  Call it embarrassment, or dislike of attention, or humility.


Check out this post by Jenny Hansen on Marcia Richards’s blog: Is it really better to give than to receive?  Maybe we need to start opening ourselves up more to receiving.  Words, acts of service, gifts–all of these are ways to communicate love and validation.  I bet you’re all great at giving it.  Now it’s your turn to receive some.  🙂

So I leave you with these: You are awesome.  You work so hard and have accomplished so much.  People may not tell you very often, but you are a solid rock in their lives, without which the wheels would come off the train.  You are beautiful.