I full heartedly believe in the power of transition. It doesn’t matter if that means from your physical state, i.e. pulling yourself from the couch to engage in some quality cardio time, you, your shoes and the pavement, to making the mental choice to no longer entertain those negative energy suckers in life. From food, relationships to mindfulness habits. These take tremendous amounts of willpower to make the conscious effort to change.
However, what I struggle with are the exterior opinions and assessments of what seems to be pertinent and acceptable in today’s society in regards to ‘successful living.’
What does success look like to the average American, post college person?
- A college degree
- A well paying job that supports your independent living/flourishing lifestyle
- Beginning & regulation of debt payments (to those who are not as fortunate with scholarships or outside financial help)
- Steady relationship, leading to a more serious future with idea’s of future grandchildren from the parents
- Control over diet and exercise to prevent the ever-so-creeping slowing of the metabolism after age 25
- Marriage, house, kids
- And ultimately, happiness (aka success)
Sound about right?
As a waitress and recently now working for a non profit organization, you have no idea how many times I have had to validate my reason for entertaining this particular type of employment. I have heard “So.. what is a pretty lady like yourself doing working here?” “Are you going to school while you waitress?”
My common response is to immediately validate my reasons for being a waitress at the age of 27 years old.”I lived in Australia for nearly two years and traveled around their beautiful country, traveled around Asia, moved back in with my dad to save money while applying for graduate schools to further my education in Psychology. I moved to Portland to be by one of my best friends who was battling Leukemia, now I am currently working towards getting my masters and have a passion for research, writing and helping people.”
Sure, that’s my alluring, ambitious goal. And most approve, if not, applaud my future plans.
But when did being a server or working in the customer service field become viewed as a negative place of employment? And most importantly, why did I start becoming increasingly defensive and feel the need to validate myself to these strangers?
Hate to break it to you, but America just wouldn’t spin if we didn’t have customer service for restaurants, cell phone providers, health clinics, beauticians, sales people, plumbers, baristas, aspiring writers, actors, models, filmmakers, nurses, assistants and fast food attendants. It simply wouldn’t.
Why do we do it then? Judge and question strangers in these professions? To make small talk? Subconsciously try to compare each other’s lives with our own to validate our own personal life success?
We should be for each other, always.
All of these occupations are beautiful and needed. No job is better or worse than another, especially if it’s what you love.
So maybe, instead of assuming a job is a stepping stone to another “more glamorous, society approved occupation,” make your current small talk with an open mind. Not so much a passing of judgement, assuming one is working towards another, higher more fulfilled goal. Perhaps it’s their DESIRE to be a janitor, a gas attendant, a nanny, a construction worker, a bartender, a barista… There is no harm in doing what you love, and loving what you do.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is perspective, not the truth.” – Marcus Aurelis
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again;
Less judgey, more lovey.
2 Replies to “Conception of Validation”
Really enjoyed this, excited to read more. I had a similar conversation with my roommate earlier today and it we talking about whether or not it is good to seek approval from others. We basically came to the conclusion that people see us the way we see ourselves. So by seeking approval, you are showing that you don’t approve of yourself. Everything works to the extent at which we believe. Thanks again for writing. Enjoy your night
I just got around to reading this post. Embracing the transition and learning to love where I am in life no matter where that is, is something I’m improving on every day. Some days I do better than others haha, but it’s really encouraging to read this (: