Two weeks ago the strangest things kept happening to me. Maybe it was my new hairstyle, perhaps it was my various outfits but I was constantly approached by guys. I know what you’re thinking: And the problem is? Well, allow me to explain.

Like most women, I’m sure I receive my fair share of attention. A “hello beautiful” here, a “you have a man?” there…but this was every single day. I mean every single day and sometimes multiple guys.

Recap? Glad you asked:

Monday-The man who almost lost his arm trying to reach me through the closing subway door as I was exiting.

Tuesday-A co-worker I hardly knew.

Wednesday-Two guys I somehow kept running into at Herald Square as I was trying to shop. Then another who begged to sit beside me on the train.

Thursday-Another man on the subway who was adamant about being my friend.

Friday-The Domino’s delivery man…yes, I did just say that.

Saturday-A male friend who I soon realized wanted to be more than friends as his hand somehow kept creeping to the small of my back.

Sunday-One man who chased me down in the subway tunnel (clearly I take the subway a lot). Another who failed to get my attention after he yelled “hey pretty” rather aggressively as he walked by.

Of course I shared my experiences with girlfriends and of course my tales were met with expressions of “you go girl,” “you’re doing it,” and “I see you.” I shrugged them off. Certainly Miss confident-fierce-independent-and-strong-don’t-need-a-man-to-tell-me-who-I-am-Shala Marks isn’t fazed by a series of onlookers… right? Well, that’s what I thought.

You see, after getting so much attention in one week, I found myself expecting it and if I didn’t get a look or compliment, the questions started rolling in.

What’s the difference this week?

Am I not looking as great?

Was it my hairstyle? Should I have changed it?

The quest to uncover why the change in my circumstances led me to ponder an even greater question: Why does it matter?

Ladies, so many of us glorify attention. Let’s be real. To have someone approach us or express interest means something to us, we place a certain value on it. A friend of mine says if she goes out with a group of friends and doesn’t get approached by a guy, although her friends do, she automatically assumes something is lacking within herself.

Again, I ask why?

I know plenty of women who would feel the same way my friend does, but why? Why is it that we need someone or something to tell us that we are pretty, sexy, worthy and enough? Why do we depend on everything outside of us to validate who we are?

I spent a great deal of time deciding what my first article would be for Because this is the “A Word for my Sistas” section, sistas, may I leave you with some words?

True validation comes only from the image reflected back to you in the mirror: yours.

You approve yourself.

You authenticate who you are.

You confirm your worth, your value, your attractiveness and intelligence.
Only you can define what it means to be you.

I always tell my friend even if you walk into a room full of men and not one of them turns their head in your direction, you have to know you’re it.

My Sistas, you have to know.

Before he tells you, before she assures you.

You have to know.

Before that degree, before that title.

You have to know.

So the next time you do receive some attention, whether from a spouse, partner or stranger, I hope that you will know although the compliments may be nice and flattering, they don’t hold a candle to the ones from that girl in the mirror.

Service is her passion, writing is her platform, women and the Black Community are her avenues. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Marks aspires to help make a difference in society through the messages in her writings. She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Check her out at:




  1. Hi Shala,

    Welcome to the forum. Great first article doll! 🙂

    I, like many other women, have had these same thoughts and have wondered some of these things. Your words are very true; true validation definitely does come from knowing your own self worth. When you’ve achieved that, there’s nothing that anyone can do to stop you!

  2. Wanting validation is a part of human nature. It’s a pat on the back, a job well done. Of course being needy is a bad thing, but we all need to be validated in some way or another by others to feel good. Trust, people with high self esteem get it from being told how fabulous they are.

  3. Shala,

    The article was absolutely fabulous! I am so proud of you and how hard you worked to get here. Like “Sweet Serenity” said, your words were very true and no matter how beautiful the woman or man may be, we all want validation. Take it from a true fabulous queen…everyone in the world can confirm someone’s beauty but it would never mean anything to that person if they never see/acknowledge the sparkle themself! Amazzzzing!

  4. I agree with the writer, but also with Dana.

    As someone who works with children, we strive to teach them self love and a belief in self, but we also make a point to affirm and validate them.

    I think the reason so many of our children, boys and girls, have such low self esteem is because they have not been affirmed and validated. They often hear what makes them bad, but rarely what makes them good.

    Either way, a healthy dose of self affirmation and worldly affirmation is needed to become well rounded adult.

  5. I loved this as your first article! I believe every woman should know their own self worth, but we wouldn’t be women without desiring some type of validation from others. I do agree that we should not depend on it, however, at the end of the day it does give you a slight satisfaction to know that someone else recognized what you knew all along.

    You’re amazing!

  6. Thank all of you for reading and replying; I love the feedback. To Dana and Daydream, I definitely agree with you It is human nature to desire validation and affirmation. I just find that so many women seek this from men and hold their (mens’) ideas of validation and affirmation over their own, when they shouldn’t. Daydream, you hit the head on the nail: We need to affirm the youth so that they can grow up knowing their self-worth and not seek the wrong means to determine it. I like your point about needing a healthy dose of affirmation; currently, so many depend on an unhealthy dose. I completely agree that there needs to be a balance. Thank all of you again!

  7. As always, you’re a very insightful and defining woman. May your work, insight, and views continue to prosper and uplift. May you continue to be a blessing to others.

  8. As always, you’re a very insightful and defining woman. May your work, insight, and views continue to prosper and uplift. May you continue to be a blessing to others.

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