Validation is key to powerful relationships.
It is safe to be our self.
Even when we don’t agree, each of us matters and is accepted.
To validate someone is to let them know they matter, that they are accepted for who they are. It is essential for the building of relationships based in trust, cooperation, a sense of belonging and closeness. Unfortunately validation is not that common a practice. Our thoughts, feelings, experiences, and or reality are minimalized or dismissed on a regular bases. The practice is so integrated into our communication style that we are often unaware, we may even have best intentions, when we practice it. However the practice of being invalidated has the same impact whether it is done consciously or unconsciously.
Invalidation leaves one feeling like they don’t matter,
are wrong and don’t belong.
The act of invalidation is so common it is
No wonder so many people struggle with a sense of being wrong and
of not belonging.
Think about it. How often have you experienced or said, ‘Don’t get upset.’ ‘You don’t want that.’ ‘You are wrong.’ ‘Stop feeling that way.’ ‘Pull yourself togeather.’ ‘Your over reacting.’ ‘Don’t think about it, just do it.’ ‘It could be worse.’ ‘Cheer up.’ ‘Think positive.’ ‘Oh that’s nothing …’ ‘There’s no reason to be upset.’ ‘Your being irrational.’ No doubt you can now think of many more such comments and thus the list could go on.
Yet it is not overly challenging to travel the path to being a validator, rather than an invalidator, transitioning to someone who consciously values, respects and cares for themselves and others. To do so make the choice to practice validation; to stop objectifying and discarding oneself and others with the use of invalidation.
By validating and respecting yourself you can become
the person you want to be.
Validating others supports the creation of a safe space.
Where trust, closeness and
a sense of belonging can develop.
This results in closer stronger relationships
based in honesty and respect.
How to validate:
The first step is to remember we are all real people, with our own perspectives, thoughts, and feelings. As a consequence we will have different ideas, needs, preferences and desires; with each of us making our own choices. This reality is a basic right of life. This diversity is in fact the beauty of life. Approaching others with this attitude makes an enormous difference.
Now: Be present, keep your attention in the now, on the individual of interest. This shows they matter enough for you to be there for them.
In that presence, listen to what they say and acknowledge it. You don’t have to agree with it. Just let it be, acknowledge their view, ideas, feelings and choices as theirs.
Also pay attention to their non-verbal communication. What that is saying about where they are at, then, instead of assuming you know, check in with them and ask for the clarification you need.
Remind them what they are experiencing is ok. Ideally normalize it, let them know they are not alone, others may have the same experience.
To validate yourself and others is powerfully respectful. It means you pay attention; act with caring, in best interests, to personal needs and desires. You drop expectations. As a result each person knows they matter, as an individual, and that they belong. In turn we can share more of our self and build closeness in our relationships.
Finally lets remember to be real. It is massively challenging for most people to stop one practice and instantly take on another. It is the intention and implementation of validation practices that will make the difference. Invalidation is likely to still occur. However, if we consider research from Positive Psychology we can take into account the four to one ratio. That is for each negative incident four positives will counteract it. So keep the focus on validating whenever you can, including acknowledging each one that occurs.