‘Watch me, daddy’: How to overcome the need to be validated


Everyone seeks it.

Wants it.

Needs it.

True statements?

Depends on who you ask.

S. Michael Wilcox (2011), a non-fiction religious writer,  believes children have a validation seeking tendency in them he calls, “Watch me, daddy.”  You know, the phrase that refers to kids constantly saying, “watch me, daddy, “watch me, daddy,” “watch me, daddy” as they are climbing all over jungle gyms, going down slides, taking swim lessons or a myriad of other kid things in which they want parents to say, “wow, look at you,” “I see,” “great job,” etc.

Yet, some continue the “watch me, daddy” syndrome into adulthood (Wilcox, 2015).

It may not be a bad thing.  Unless, as Krombert (2014) posits, you are a “serial attention seeker” (para. 7).  In her piece, Attention Trap 1, she opens with a series of questions, after requesting you to “picture yourself at a party” and then ask:

  • What do you do?
  • Do you scan the room looking for someone to flirt with?
  • If no one flirts with you, do you feel less desirable?
  • Do you feel best when flirting with a person whom you know is attached to someone else in the room? (para. 1)

Krombert (2014) explains, “If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you may have fallen into what [she] call[s] an ‘Attention Trap'” (para. 2).

In my opinion, the more confident and sure of oneself, the less need to seek validation.  The less of the former and latter, however, the more.

Some of the most humble and grounded people I know, in my sphere of influence, do not have to let others know they are even in a room.

One I know is a billionaire; yet, works to provide opportunities, without fanfare, for others through time, philanthropy and service.

Yet, I have had to learn to become like this.

In my journey to find myself and place in life and with God, sometimes I took my “spiritual-being” helmet off and put my “human” one on.

Where I had to be noticed.

Had to let every one know.

Had to do the whole “watch, me daddy” dance.

Some grow out of this dance; some do not.

Yet, I believe anyone can.

My experience tells me that those who are spiritually grounded –and not just in words, but actions– are less likely to seek validation than those who are not.

Abraham Maslow, the American psychologist and creator of the often quoted Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model, though, believes, that in his middle rung people need to feel a sense of belonging.

(LifeEdited.com, 2017)

This is normal.  It is what Krombert describes “as either the long-term reinforcement of the self that comes from good friends, family or a committed relationship” versus what she refers to as “the short-term benefits of narcissistic behaviors in which we seek attention, admiration or adoration” (para. 3).

Yet, for those who are ‘serial attention seekers’?

Krombert warns, you could become “addicted” to attention if you need it to fuel your self-esteem (2014).

So the next time you are around people, ask yourself the following:

  • Do I need to be noticed?
  • Why do I need to be noticed?
  • Are my motives pure without any underlining meaning?
  • Could I fly under the radar?
  • Do I need validation to function?
  • Am I loyal?
  • Am I true?
  • Am I congruent?

Yet, a Retired Army Colonel and Chaplain I know provides the best question of all, “Would the Savior approve of your behavior?”  After all, He knows your motives.

If you find you are a serial attention seeker, time to reassess and ask why.

Do some soul-searching.

And put that spiritual helmet back on.  After all, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.  Not the other way around.

Then study how a spiritual being needs validation.

Last time I checked it was only through the Savior.

That is good enough for me.

How about you?


Krombert, J. (2014, June 10). Attention trap part 1: Narcissism, validation and self-worth.  Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-out/201306/attention-trap-part-1-narcissism-validation-and-self-worth

LifeEdited.com. (2017).  Moving up and beyond Maslow’s hierarchy.  Retrieved from http://lifeedited.com/moving-up-and-beyond-maslows-pyramid/

Wilcox, S. M. (2011).  The Michael Wilcox collection. [CD ROM].  Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company.

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Cynthia Kimball Davis: Hope-based guru, writer, teacher, smoothie, gum & dog lover, family is everything, disciple, is excellent, do great things! ;)

One thought on “‘Watch me, daddy’: How to overcome the need to be validated

  1. I love the way that you combine so many references! You write to your audience in a way that is engaging and interesting. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

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