Human beings are naturally social. We thrive on and require social relationships, and we often use our interactions with others as a way to better understand ourselves. It’s why we respond so well to positive feedback from a boss, teacher, or relationship partner.
We may have an idea that we did a good job, or have value, but that feedback from someone else provides what often feels like objective support that helps us better understand our place in the world.
When Social Feedback Goes Too Far
There’s nothing inherently wrong about feeling good because someone complimented you, or knowing that you’re valuable because you’re getting positive feedback. But problems arise when someone excessively and exclusively relies on others to provide you with that sense of value and self-esteem. It’s one thing to let someone’s kind words bring you up. It’s quite another for you to depend on those kind words, needing this external validation for you feel positively about yourself.
What can happen for those that have fragile self-esteem is that they need positive feedback on everything that they do, often from a specific person or from groups of people. They depend on that feedback to experience any positivity about themselves at all. That can become a problem very quickly:
- You cannot control what others will provide for you. Let’s say you host a party, and you feel like it went really well, but no one compliments you about your party. For someone that relies on feedback, that can be crushing, even though you already felt that the party went well.
- Like art, many things in life are subjective, and the interpretation of others isn’t always relevant to how you should feel about it yourself. Using art as an example, imagine you made a painting that you feel is a perfect encapsulation of an emotion of yours. But other people look at it and do not feel the same way, or do not like it at all. Their feedback, in this case, shouldn’t matter. You made the art, and you saw it as the perfect representation. But if you rely on the feedback of others, suddenly this art that you loved may not be perceived as positively by you.
- Excessively relying on positive feedback can lead to dependency. That dependency can be very unhealthy for your emotional self-esteem, as it requires that the other person be consistently giving you praise for you to feel confident n yourself. Similarly, some people find that it sabotages relationships when someone is too depending on the positive feedback of someone else.
It is perfectly normal to feel positively after someone provides you with good feedback. But you also need to be able to know how to maintain good self-esteem without relying on others. You have value, and it is important that you not need other people to prove that to you. Learn more by contacting Long Island Psychology, today.