An event yesterday was the inspiration for my story about validation today.
Yesterday I visited an elderly family friend who is now living in an old folk’s home and it saddened me to see the damaging effects of being invalidated. It was saddening seeing this lovely elderly woman in an environment where she will live out the latter years of her life feeling unfulfilled.
The summation of the situation is that in her life there are items she values and she wants to be in control of her possessions and yet others have taken over this control. It seemed to me that if this was my mother or grandmother I would want them to have a sense of peace and contentment for their final years in their life, though I believe in the power of validation.
What I believe is playing out here is I believe her needs, values and desires are not being validated. She is feeling invalidated and could also feel insignificant.
Is validation terminology you use in your life?
In my past I lived in relationships and situations where I found I was never being validated. In fact I was raised invalidated and it continued to play out until I made the change within myself.
Invalidation is a sense of having others around you either
- Discrediting and demeaning your beliefs and values
- Not listening or hearing what you have to say or desire
- Not understanding the importance of things to you
- Being rejected
- Being ignored or judged according to your beliefs and actions
Let me tell you, it certainly can leave you feeling shit!
The end result for me and the point when enough was enough was when my mentor said to me,
“Why is it that you need to be heard or validated?”
This made me think. Why DO I need another person to validate me and am I validating myself?
This lead to months of reframing and changing my thoughts and beliefs about myself and then consciously giving myself the validation all human beings have the right to. The end result was ‘out with the losers’ in my life and in with the winners, people who ignite my spark and are able to provide acknowledgement and validation.
How I made this change I am more than happy to share with you if you would like to know the whys. Contact me and I can share my practises and techniques.
This brings me to the topic of ‘what is validation?’
The dictionary describes it as
- Something, such as a certificate, that validates something; authentication, confirmation, proof, verification
- The process whereby others confirm the validity of one’s emotions.
To me it is so much more.
We all love to be heard.
Acknowledging someone’s feelings is what we all want and we can easily invalidate someone if we find ourselves in a situation that is out of our comfort zone or is too emotionally charged for us to cope with. Here we can find ourselves invalidating others to make ourselves feel more comfortable.
Ways we invalidate others are
- Believing or presuming we know how others feel when we have not even asked. ‘You know it is wrong to _______.’
- Wanting to fix others feelings to make you feel better, saying things like “Oh, you do not need to feel like that.”
- Blaming, shaming or judging others. Ridiculing and criticizing others is very harmful. “Why did you ______, you always ruin things.’
- Deny or minimise what is happening for them. ‘It’s not a big deal’
- Not validating because you do not agree with their opinion. ‘You should not think that way.’
- Believing you are doing the best for others or not wanting to hurt them ‘You look great in that’
If this is what it is NOT, then what IS Validation?
- Listening and hearing others opinions and believes and just acknowledging them, even if they are not aligned with yours. ‘I hear what you are feeling about that, would you like to tell me more?.’
- Staying present and listening even when it makes you feel uncomfortable. ‘Tell me more about that’
- Having great communication standards and skills ‘So what I am hearing here is that you want to _________ and you feel _________’
- Being able to put yourself in others shoes and situations. ‘I imagine that might feel like _____, am I correct?’
- Understanding what others needs are without bringing in your own stuff into the equation. ‘I can sense that you are angry about that.’
- Being self-compassionate for yourself and others. ‘That must really hurt when that happens.’
We all want to be validated.
We all want to be heard, we all want to be understood.
Spiritual growth comes when we grow to realise that we want to understand rather than be understood and we have learnt to find our own ways to fill our validation cup and have plenty self-love and compassion for ourselves first.
In conclusion, start to validate your own feelings.
This is a mindfulness practise and the more you start to understand yourself, then the more you will start of understand and validate others.
Ask me about my practises and tips if you are ready to make any life changes.
Seeing you in health and happiness