A story of self validation
by Edmund J. Janas, II
My friend and I were talking and the topic of validation came up. They said, if others don’t validate you, it’s OK to validate yourself. I asked: “Isn’t that boastful?” I’ve never boasted in any of my accomplishments, I would write about them…and the lessons learned, but rarely did I even show my credentials or CV. In fact I deleted my LInkedIn account. I so dislike LinkedIn.
They said: “No, it’s not boasting if it’s factual and true. It’s a matter of fact” So I did. I thought about all my achievements, whether or not people thought they were great. I included all the obstacles I had to overcome.
You see, to my way of thinking, the world has two types of people, those who get external validation and those who do not. Elon Musk is an example of someone who gets the benefit of the doubt, people like me, we do not. We tend to get the detriment of the doubt, and we tend to have to fight for all we get. Anything I got was because I had to work, study and be smart enough to get it. Read my stories on Brego.com
I talked to my friend days later… I said: “It feels good to reflect on what I’ve done right, to reflect on the right steps I’ve made that are mixed in with the many mistakes. To sort them out and dust them off. So I’ve been chilling and thinking about that, decided to do it for a couple days.”
My friend said: “You do that EVERY day? Reflect on the good you do.” When they said that I felt like a kid who is stoked to learn that Christmas comes EVERY year. You see, that wasn’t the way I was raised, my father never spoke of his accomplishments, not until after I was 30 was I able to pull details out of him. And for better or worse, I patterned my behavior after his.
Others in my family kept closer tabs on what I achieved, or more specifically, what I didn’t achieve than I did. In fact, through the power of magical thinking, the logic worked like this:
I go to California to act but decide leaving my father to fend for himself at 80 wasn’t a good idea so I return home to become his caregiver.
What my family hears: “Loser: You went to California and came back after a week.”
I quite a job making $100/hr in 1997 to pursue my acting career.
What my family hears: “I heard you were so dumb you gave up a job making lots of money.”
I display my father’s war medals at his funeral: My family: “You got those replacements through the mail?!” I’m like, how the f*ck are they supposed to be delivered…through your asshole?” and “Your father told me a different story, I would like to come by and take a closer look at those medals.” Me: “Yes, and you can come by and take a closer look at the family jewels when you visit!”
I joined SAG: Cousin: “Oh really, I didn’t know you had it in you.” Sigh.
Cousin #2: “Don’t you have to be smart to be an actor?”
So you see, whether I accomplished or didn’t accomplish was always the same to my relatives. My parents being the exception.
Now imagine that for 31 years of adulthood. Your failures put on blast and even your sacrifices, bravery and accomplishments are only proof that you are dumb and and someone to be exploited.
But we CAN validate ourselves! I can be grateful for my own accomplishments. Now I focus on the business: Making sure I have a clear plan of what you what I want to achieve. Now I praise my own accomplishments and really think of them as accomplishments. Where in the past I never thought much of them.
It’s time for me to enjoy this journey and to remind myself why I’m doing this and to savor the process. I give myself the benefit of the doubt.
It’s been a long time coming. Dues paid, scripts and stories written, research done, training ongoing, business planned and the network designed and presently being built, sometimes if only on paper or within spreadsheets.
It’s been a tough journey. Now I dig deep, calm myself and do some internal work because nothing worthwhile and lasting comes to anyone unless they are prepared to receive it. It’s so surreal because the pain body smells success before it arrives and people start acting strangely. But success is unpredictable. It can take 30 years to arrive and it will pick Its own day and hour….or it can pass you by, even after the work has been put in. Lots of people arrive after the hard work has been done too.
Now I really think about my goals . Now I build and think about funding and the crazy logistics, working out contingencies even as my so-called brother and other family work against me. Nothing new I suppose, brothers have been trying to kill brothers since Cain, Able and Joseph in Egypt. They’ll regret it, I’m sure. It amazes me, we can turn on the news daily and see our enemies in action, but people would rather make someone that actually cares for them and who has helped them out of bad situations multiple times….the enemy.
Before my father passed away he told me, “When I die, you are going to be alone.” I said: “Pop, what a horrible thing to say…nobody wants to be alone!” He said: “No. Being alone is a good thing! [when you are at peace] You are gonna be alone and people aren’t gonna bother you! You can do what you want.” Our society views being alone as a bad thing, maybe so marketers can sell us more things, manipulate our feelings so we can strive for things and buy things we don’t really need. But my father taught me that being at peace is a good thing.
So to those going it alone, and to those who are just alone. Happy Valentines day. You are not alone.