I Need External Validation And You Do Too: Why Artists Need To Stop Feeling Bad For Craving Praise

It’s not always a bad thing to seek attention — sometimes it’s simply a part of the creative (and human) process.

Emily Sinclair Montague
9 min readJul 23, 2021

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If you’re an artist or an alleged human being, you’ve probably heard advice along the lines of “you shouldn’t care what other people think” or “successful people learn to validate themselves without paying attention to outside opinions.”

Well, I’m here to tell you that this is bullsh**.

I’ll get into the details of why it’s bullsh** shortly, but first of all, I’d like to observe that I have never heard of or met a single person in all of human history who has truly not cared what other people think of them.

Have you? Sure, some people seem less inclined to act on the opinions of others, and some people are great at giving off that devil-may-care attitude, but ultimately, they do still care about the things others see in them.

It’s natural. It’s human. And it’s high time we stopped feeling bad about ant of it — seriously.

If You Didn’t Want To Be Socially Wired, You Should Have Picked A Different Species

To start this tirade train a’ rolling, I will use the power of story to describe what would have happened to your ancestors if they had genuinely, truly not cared about other people’s opinions.

Once upon a time, there was an early sapiens who didn’t care what other sapiens thought of him. He got ostracized and died in the cold, unforgiving wilderness. The end.

Yes, his story would have been short indeed — just like his life. Long before we put the homo in homo sapiens, our evolutionary prototypes were living in carefully maintained social groups. It worked for us, and so natural selection began to favor the most socially wired of our species and fixed them right smack dab in the center of our genome.

The result is us: the most socially complex, socially intelligent species on the planet. An enormous portion of our neurobiology is dedicated to navigating the unseen wilderness of relationships…

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Emily Sinclair Montague

Author & Full-Time Writer. Embracing life’s chaos one word at a time. Get in touch at emsinclair@wordsofafeather.net (or don’t, but I love the attention)!