Law in Contemporary Society

The need for external validation seems to be an important component of a lot of the internal conflicts with which I struggle. For example, at this point in my career, the tradeoff between time and money is a very relevant concern to my life. For a long time now I have thought about how important it is to me to make a lot of money. The part of myself that does want to make a lot of money has some good and some bad reasons. On the bad hand: growing up, I had a particular problem with people who I felt considered wealth as the most important measuring stick of success. I always thought it should be “happiness.” But I nonetheless felt compelled to make more money than these people, because I did not want them to be able to think that they were more “successful” than me, measured by any conceivable stick – an immature and unattainable goal.

I like to think I am no longer quite so petty. But I know that part of me still wants to make more money than I need to live. In trying to pinpoint why, I think it is partly laziness – I want to be able to pay for good food that I do not have to cook, and for someone to fix things that break so that I do not have to fix them. It is also, though, partly because I believe that a lot of people will consider how much money I earn in their valuation of me. And I care what they think.

A Human’s Medium is Time

I also care how much time I have, and I want to spend it such that I am happy. Making more money usually requires more time, and this comes at the expense of other uses that I might potentially enjoy more. So there is a question of whether I will be happier on account of other peoples’ (external) higher valuation of me due to me having made more money, than I would be by spending my time in a way that I (internally) prefer. Another part of me feels that it is fundamentally ridiculous to try to appease people based on a value with which I disagree. When my confidence peaks, I can disregard what other people think, for a moment. But the variance of confidence is high and unpredictable, and allows for a lot of gray area. That’s why I can simultaneously suffer from the two flaws of (1) always thinking I’m the coolest person in the room, and (2) never thinking I am. It can be difficult to recognize that these two feelings can coexist, and even harder to recognize that neither is true.

The reason that we need validation from other people stems from somewhere good. We care what other people think because we care about other people. So maybe just as we should try to understand our internal conflicts via our different selves, we should also try to understand the way our internal conflicts coexist with our need for external validation, and the effect that has on our different selves.

I once saw a billboard that said, “When I fall in love, it will be forever.” My whole self, in love with another whole self, for all of time, and nothing split? I knew this billboard was put there for me.


Webs Webs

r3 - 13 Jun 2016 - 02:02:43 - WilliamCoombs
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