The Validation You Seek From Loved One's Requires Communication

 It’s Wednesday. You are halfway through the week and all you want is your favorite iced drink from a local coffee shop. So you decide to swing by and grab a quick drink on your way to work. The barista asks for your order. You stare at her a bit blankly then say, “I’ll have my usual”. She stares back, “Your usual?” She’s confused, but you don’t understand why, shouldn’t she know exactly what you want. “That’s not a drink on the menu,” she says. You grow frustrated, “I want my usual.” The problem is you aren’t a regular at this coffee shop, this is only the third time you’ve been here. You leave the coffee shop full of resentment and anger. You expected the barista to know exactly what you wanted. 

This scenario is silly, right? You probably can’t imagine this happening in real life. The fact of the matter is that it does happen in real life. We often expect our partner or those closest to us to know what we want and to meet our needs telepathically. Telling someone you want to be complimented or given a surprise gift isn’t as fun as them spontaneously doing it. 

However, when we walk through life expecting everyone to meet our needs without us ever voicing them, we build up resentment. Our resentment then comes out in the form of passive-aggressive phrases. 

Soon this passive-aggressiveness starts to wear thin our closest relationships. You stew inside your mind instead of enjoying time in the present. You wonder why your partner didn’t know you wanted a handwritten note for your anniversary or spontaneous flowers when they come home after work. You become angry at your friends when they don’t ask about your weekend or compliment your outfit. You assume that because you always do those things for them, they must do the same for you. But while you angrily ponder about all the niceties they lack you miss the affection they are currently showing. Your partner messages you “goodnight”. Your friend sends you a funny video on Instagram. 

Our ideas of love and validation aren’t always the same as those closest to us. Not everyone shows love in the same way. Your partner may show you love by giving you small presents, while you show affection through sweet texts throughout the day. 

We can’t expect everyone to fill up our cup of validation for us, just as a barista wouldn’t telepathically know your coffee order. Healthy communication requires conversations with your partners, friends, or family about the love and validation you want to be shown. These conversations might look like asking your partner to bring you flowers once weekly or asking a parent to attend your sporting events.

But don’t be fooled, if you voice your needs to a significant other or friend and they still continue to leave those needs unmet, that’s a larger issue. Some people will refuse to meet your needs. That isn’t a failure on your part, it is an indicator of their own ignorance. Anyone who knows how you prefer to be loved and still denies you it, doesn’t really love you as much as they say. 

I know it’s uncomfortable and sometimes it feels bothersome to voice your wants and needs. As children we are often taught to “be grateful for what we have.” I am here to tell you that voicing your needs to a partner, friend, or parent doesn’t make you a burden, it makes you a human. We all want to be validated and loved. Just don’t forget that coffee doesn’t pour itself.

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