On External Validation

Imagine my surprise when I got the email (shown below) in my mailbox.
Click on image to zoom
Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 10.22.27

My initial reactions were:
1. OKCupid did not find me “attractive” before?
2. So OkCupid hid all the “attractive” people from me.
3. Wow OKCupid thinks I’m “attractive”.

After I calmed down and shared this “exciting” news with my friends, they were not surprised as they claimed I’m a very attract person. I laughed at their response as they are my friends and it is their lifelong bound duty to say such things.

The email got me thinking about how I have come a long way since I my days of low-self esteem and insecurities. I think is quiet fascinating to think of how I was rejected by guys several times based on my skin complexion to me being exoticised by others.

While a part of me thinks that it is funny that the OKCupid beauty police have deemed me “attractive”, I still can’t get over how the email is worded to boost my self esteem. According to Wikipedia, “users [of OKCupid] who receive high ratings may be notified by email that they are in the “top half of OkCupid’s most attractive users” and “will now see more attractive people in [their] match results”. The email also reads “And, no, we didn’t just send this email to everyone on OkCupid. Go ask an ugly friend and see”.

I put attractive in quotes because there are still people who will not consider be attractive at all as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If I had gotten this email about 4-6 years ago, I would have be ecstatic because I would have thought that someone out there finds me attractive and it would have probably helped alot with my low self esteem and body insecurities.

I’ve stopped looking for external validation about my appearance. To me it is just unhealthy and can do major harm to one’s psyche as there is the need for that constant validation. I can’t tell you the amount of dangerous situations I’ve put my self through just because I need someone to tell me that I was hot all because I was rejected by someone. The worst part is rejection by someone I thought was not conventionally attractive (yes I know. We are all victims of superficiality…). I have come a long way and dealt with the aforementioned issues. Do I still have moments when get self esteem issues? Of course but it is not as perverse as it was years ago.

Our superficial and increasingly narcissistic culture has socialised us into desiring external validation. We are increasingly conditioned to rely on other people’s opinions to define our self worth. I always find it fascinating that we are told we are all equal, and that no one is better than another yet society (or the elite “governors of society), treats us as if we are not equal. We are constantly judged by our external characteristics (i.e clothes, looks, race, superficial things, etc).

Loads of people like the attention that comes from external validation. It becomes a form of addiction where there is an unhealthy dependence on the attestations of others in order to feel a sense of worth. This attitude is very pervasive in the gay men “community” where people are constantly seeking the validation of others as they don’t fit the image of the perpetual youthful white masculine adonis with perfectly crafted body or whatever body type exists in the various subcultures.

I’m sure the email sent by OKCupid is by no means hurtful and I’m sure it will help boost the esteem and confidence of someone who needs it. I reckon there could have been a different or subtle way of letting one know that they are “attractive”.

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One thought on “On External Validation

  1. Unfortunately, in today’s society, our physical appearance defines a great deal of our worth as people. It’s pathetic, it’s shallow, and it’s oppressive. The challenge is to learn to love ourselves despite what our external environment might tell us. Great blog, and great post! Care to check out mine? Downwiththenorm.wordpress.com

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