The Ghost in Your Head
A ghost has haunted the thoughts of every red-blooded male ever born. Some men wrestle with this ghost more than others—but it’s inherent in all of us. It’s why we love sports, why we tell stories over cold beers, it’s why we are who we are as men. It’s the ghost of validation.
It’s the spirit that emerged from our insecurities before even knew we had insecurities. We don’t know why we want validation—we just do. Like a ghost, the craving appears sporadically and frightens us with what it wants us to do. Or maybe it doesn’t frighten us at all, instead leading us to think poisonous thoughts or make really bad decisions as we remain oblivious to the invisible ghost driving us.
I know because I’ve been there. I’d say 82.3 percent of the poor life choices I’ve made over the past 27 years have come as a direct result of succumbing to the ghost of wanting validation from other people. In dating, this ghost is especially insidious—and ironic. It haunts us like this: Men chase women to gain respect from other men.
Don’t be one of those men-dependent men. Those men don’t make anyone happy. Not themselves. Not the girls. Not even the other men they’re trying to impress. So save yourself from an epic dating fail by taking honest inventory with THE CHECKLIST.
- I sometimes act more aggressive and engage in “PDA” (public displays of affection) if I think my friends or bystanders might notice.
- I find myself mentioning a girl I’m seeing even it’s completely not relevant to the conversation—double check if it’s bringing up something she does that involves her hotness. (Example: “Speaking of which, did I tell you that Michelle’s a model?”)
- I sometimes exaggerate or leave out details when telling friends stories about going out to meet women. (Uncheck if the exaggerating doesn’t make you look “cool.” Example: “Some girl threw a drink in my face and kicked me in the balls!”)
- If anyone takes pictures of me and an attractive girl together, I routinely check Facebook to see if the pictures are posted online—double check if you also immediately tag them.
- If I were to write a “report” on a dating advice forum about an interaction I had with a woman, I would title that report something that emphasized the hotness of the girl. (Example: “FR: Pulled the Hottest Girl at the Party”)
- I feel uncomfortable or jealous if I’m on a double date and my date is less hot than the other girl.
- I sometimes intentionally cock-block other guys if they are doing well with a woman I secretly want.
- If a friend of mine hooks up with a really attractive woman, I forget to congratulate him or I do so and then immediately tell a story about an awesome hookup I had.
- If I’m talking to a guy who doesn’t know me well, I feel better if he thinks I’m good with women.
- I sometimes “demean” or “AMOG” other guys who try to hit on my date—double check if I feel a pang of satisfaction if the guy backs down or shows me respect.
Let’s face it: these are private feelings most men have had at some point. I certainly have—how else do you think I even envisioned this article? However, I’d like to think I now exercise some control over the ghost that lurks within.
We don’t know why we want validation—we just do. Like a ghost, the craving appears sporadically and frightens us with what it wants us to do.
My hope in creating this checklist is that that you, too, will be able to identify pangs of validation-craving. If you can do that, you can eradicate those pangs. Ghosts flee from the light of understanding. Reread the checklist and pay special attention to the checked boxes. Remember: those are the moments when the ghost comes to haunt you. If you can remember that, you can make it disappear.
When the ghost disappears, you can have more genuine, more rewarding, more awesome interactions with women. That, ironically, will win you the validation of other men. Not that you care anyway.