The Tragic Results of Validation Addiction
The other night I went to see the movie “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer” Directed by Joseph Cedar. Richard Gere gives a profoundly moving performance. He captures the essence of the very vulnerable, displaced, older man Norman, who is desperately trying to belong. He is a New York Fixer, a wheeler and dealer who tries to connect people and push “good deals”. Wheeling and dealing is his ticket to a sense of belonging, his attempt to be “someone” who matters. He strives desperately to get attention and recognition through offering “good deals” and personal connections. One of his attempts lands him a connection with an Israeli high official. He buys him a gift, a pair of very expensive shoes. This connection and the sense of warmth and trust that follows changes his life for better or worse…
What moved me while watching the movie, was the recognition that Norman actually represents each one of us. We all need to feel that we belong and that we’re valued for who we are. We can look for that affirmation outside of ourselves or train our eyes to see it inside. The inside job takes dedication, awareness, and internal work. Mostly, our commonly tendency is to look for the affirmation of self-value outside. We devote much effort to get people to like and appreciate us, to get noticed by finding fame, fortune, political power, or at times destroy and distract. Whatever works to get attention.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, these costly efforts don’t truly establish an internal sense of personal value. What does is loving connection and acceptance of ourselves and authentic connection with others. When Norman felt the warmth and connection with the Israeli high official, he felt, maybe for the first time, truly appreciated. Was that enough to bring him peace?? Maybe it ushered a beginning of self-acceptance? It also opened him up to betrayal.
Investing in the discovery and realization of our inner self has the highest return. I highly recommend the art of looking inside and learning to accept, respect, and nurture the self within ourselves. Our deepest drive is to fully express our being and touch lives. Knowing our value, empowers us to be and do just that.