The Magic Feather: Are You Waiting for Validation to Create Your Art?

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I was reading Berni Xiong’s book, The Year of the Brave Bear, when I came across this quote (which, oddly enough, was the same message I heard just yesterday from James Altucher1, author of Choose Yourself — it’s a theme this week):

We wait to be chosen. We wait for others to tell us we’re good enough. We seek validation from people before we proceed with our grand idea. — Berni Xiong, The Year of the Brave Bear

I’ve heard it said that you only have to share your experiences and be a little further down the road to help somebody else. Problem is, sometimes I forget I’m a little further down the road on some things (it always feels like I’m at the beginning).

My Own Validation-Seeking Story

The start of my creative career began in my early twenties with entrepreneurship and writing. It felt awkward at first. Entrepreneurship, after all, was my dad’s department, and writing was my sister’s. So, of course, I sought validation.

Except I never got it.

I would launch a new idea or create something and send it to the people in my circle and wouldn’t get acknowledgement of receipt, let alone validation. It was disheartening. And it made me think I was doing something wrong or that there was something wrong with my idea (must have been — why else would they ignore it?).

So I would start over.

Each time, I would level the first idea to the ground and come up with something completely different to replace it, in hopes of “getting it right” this time.

Nope. Still no good.

Unfortunately, it took a lot of “failed” attempts to make me see where I was going wrong (hint: it wasn’t with the ideas).

The problem was, I was looking for something no one else could give me (because even if they had, it wouldn’t have been enough) — validation.

Validation that I could do this and was on the right track.

Validation that my ideas were good enough.

Validation that I was good enough.

It took about a decade for me to stop seeking validation from anyone but myself. Finally, I could decide that my ideas were good enough and worth pursuing. They were, all of them. And I regret that I gave that power to anyone else for such a long time. I’ve learned to trust my own metrics for whether or not to pursue an idea (excitement and enthusiasm — that’s all).

The Magic Feather

Your idea is good.

Really, you don’t need me to tell you that. Either way, trite advice like “writers write” doesn’t help when you’re at the beginning of the road, so I’ll tell you again what I wish someone had told me back then: your idea is good.

Bookmark this. Come back to it again and again. Keep reading those words.

Your idea is good.

Until you believe it without me having to tell you.

Is it a magic feather?

Sure.

But it helped the elephant fly. 🙂

Footnotes

  1. You can find the podcast episodes on “The Real Truth How James Chose Himself” here and here.

About the author

E.H. Bellefontaine

Evangeline Henry Bellefontaine is the fictional writer behind Maison d'Evangeline (and More Beautiful Good on Medium). She writes mostly on the topics of bibliotherapy (books + therapy), personal growth, and doing the work. Follow by subscribing to Bibliothérapie.

By E.H. Bellefontaine

Guiding Quote

A house extends skyward.
Like a tiny but proud cathedral,
it wishes to generate the highest
and the best in its inhabitants.
— John Truby

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