I Don’t Need You to Validate My Tomato

tomato

This post has two purposes:

1. to talk about self-love and not needing to seek validation outside of myself.
2. to talk about how I speak in very abstract terms and at times have to reign that in for the sake of communicating with others.

This week I was talking with someone about the human need to be validated by others and how to temper that by being able to self-validate more. I don’t know that the need for outside validation ever goes away completely, maybe it does, who knows. I still find I need it at times. Like for example when I am new at a job and am unsure about my progress, Am I catching on fast enough? Am I doing this right? Am I meeting their expectations?
Or another example is from my Parents. I am in my thirties and I am not going to lie I still find that I am seeking out my parents validation from time to time, Am I making them proud? Am I disappointing them? Did that decision I made hurt their feelings?

This need has slowly gotten smaller over time for me. My boundaries are better, my sense of worth actually exists now, I am confident in my abilities and feel more secure in who I am as a person.

New jobs provoke a lot less anxiety than they used to. Fear of disappointing my parents has waned as well. I know I am capable, I know I am smart, I make decisions that I know are right for me and are healthy, whether they are right for others is less of a concern.

As I was having this conversation about the ability to self-validate and emotionally take care of our own needs I thought of this post I wrote back in April about tending to my emotional garden. I started talking in this metaphor to the other person and they totally got it, which was awesome. At one point I was talking about being the emotional gardener and how I know my tomato is great, I don’t need anyone to validate my tomato. My tomato being whatever piece of myself is feeling insecure and needs support. I love that not only did the person I was talking to get it but now “I don’t need anyone to validate my tomato” is a thing.

Sometimes your weird, and sometimes it works.

The other part of this post also has to do with how I use abstract thought to get my ideas across. This does not work with everyone. For example, my husband is super concrete in his thought patterns. If I said “I don’t need anyone to validate my tomato” in context, giving him the entire back story so it is not just some random ass thing I am saying, he would get it but he may not get why I felt the need to use the tomato metaphor. He would probably say something like, Why not just say, “I don’t need your approval or validation”?

My answer to that would be, because my way is more colorful and fun. Still, I see the point he would theoretically be making. Also, realistically my husband would probably say this to another person if they used the tomato metaphor but he likes my weird so he would most likely not say it to me and instead laugh and think it is cute/weird.

Back to my seeing the point of speaking directly, using concrete terms, and saying what you mean.. It is not how I typically communicate honestly but I see the value. It is important when working with young children because their ability to utilize abstract thinking is not fully developed, it is also very important with adults and older adults who have certain medical conditions which may effect the ability to use abstract thought. Not to mention some people just do not communicate that way and have trouble following that line of reasoning. A few people I am interacting with quite frequently this semester fall into this last category. They all are direct, to the point, not frivolous with their words, and expect to engage with others in this way. It has been a great opportunity for me to work on my communication skills, it is a work in progress though. I catch myself frequently falling into my pattern of metaphorical story telling to illustrate a point or just becoming too tangential in general. I am aware of it though and making a concerted effort.

At the end of the day though I am sure these people do not feel like they need any kind of validation from me about whether or not their style of communication is effective, and I certainly do not need them to validate my tomato either.

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2 thoughts on “I Don’t Need You to Validate My Tomato

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVED the name of this post even before I read it. Then the discussion and explanation was so great too. As a poet, I find that abstract words and analogies can be so incredibly useful. They can protect you from parts of something sacred, hint at the iceberg underneath, exactly identify a component of a feeling or situation that you couldn’t otherwise describe…and finally…add some whimsy to life. Nicely played, idealist.

    Liked by 1 person

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