When you’re in a painful or confusing situation, learning to validate yourself and acknowledge where you’re at is the first step toward finding a solution.
Nothing shifts without validation! In order to move forward in a healing project (or even in a tough conversation), pause and take inventory and look at each aspect of yourself to see what is going on, both internally and externally. When you can see what you’re dealing with, you can start to head in the right direction from a point of clarity.
Validation is a great go-to tool to get you unstuck in almost any situation.
Validation means you recognize something and acknowledge its legitimacy.
When you can stop and validate every part of a situation, it’s like you can see all the pieces and how each component works—or perhaps isn’t working and needs fixing.
Imagine trying to repair something if you couldn’t see all the parts or tossed some pieces out because you thought they didn’t matter. It wouldn’t work. Validation is about taking stock of yourself (or a situation) and saying that each piece is relevant and worthy of acknowledgment.
There are a few different ways you can validate yourself. You can speak your observations out loud, note them in your mind, or write them in a journal to create more clarity for yourself.
Validation doesn’t need to come with a good or bad judgment attached to it.
It’s an observation and an affirmation of your experience, perception, and emotional status. Validation isn’t always a compliment. You also don’t have to like your situation to validate what’s happening to you. It’s simply being aware and getting real about yourself and the dynamic you’re in.
It’s amazing what you can shift just by identifying and validating what is happening to you.
All aspects of yourself (mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual) deserve your recognition and function better when they are being seen and tended to.
Seeing the whole picture often makes it easier to zero in on what, exactly, needs to shift vs. seeing yourself (or someone else) as just “broken.”
If you’re denying or suppressing a part of yourself—you can’t heal it. You wouldn’t treat the elements of an expensive car that needed repair this way, so treat yourself the same. (treat yourself equal to or BETTER than your car).
If you’re in an interpersonal situation that feels tense or on the brink of a full-blown conflict, try using validation to shift the energy of the moment. Below is an example of how to pause and affirm yourself and another in a tense convo.
Internally (not spoken out loud)
Validate your experience as it’s unfolding—all of it.
“Ugh, my neighbor is being so annoying by pointing out that my house needs to be painted AGAIN! I knowwwwwww. I’m feeling super threatened and pissed by this conversation right now. This relationship is hard for me to navigate because his stupid complaints about our property always trigger me!”
In this 100% hypothetical example (sarcasm), you can see that I, oops! I mean, “my friend” has allowed herself to feel her feels. By doing this, she can examine these thoughts and emotions for more clues about herself and the situation.
Maybe she can be less judgemental—are their neighbor’s complaints actually stupid? (They’re not). Turns out that my friend’s house was, in fact, way overdue for a paint job. She was also feeling peer pressure to be rushed into an expensive decision by her neighbor and needed to acknowledge that so she could have more confidence in her own timeline. And ok, since we’re really dissecting this, could my friend examine why she tends to procrastinate this and other house projects as long as she does?
By validating everything she felt at that moment, my friend could see that she was not powerless and needed to examine her own judgments and shortcomings. Please note that my friend didn’t like this situation one bit. But she could get unstuck and take action by taking stock of herself in the situation.
Externally (the part you actually say out loud)
Try validating what the other person is feeling or experiencing. This doesn’t mean you need to agree or disagree per se, but it’s amazing how much someone can cool off if you’re taking a moment to really see them and their experience. Also, letting them know what they are doing right helps bring more cooperation into the situation.
“I can see how much the sight of our crumbling paint dominates the view from your house and why that would frustrate you. We don’t see our house as much as you do…cuz we’re usually IN it. We get to see your house and yard—which always looks so nice—you do such a great job. We’re working on finding a painter and will probably have this project done in about six months.”
Note how my friend with the crappy paint acknowledged and affirmed what Mr. Perfect Pants neighbor was experiencing and how he was feeling and tossed in a validate-what-you’re-doing-right comment to help smooth the moment.
When things feel patchy, stop and start validating to get unstuck.
Validate everyone—yourself and others. You’ll be amazed at how much energy starts to get unclogged, and everything starts to flow a little easier. Flow is good; it means healing work can begin to happen.
Validation also works well if you don’t know how to comfort someone going through something tragic. Letting a friend or loved one know that you see their struggle can be healing for them when they feel alone or overwhelmed. Note that validating isn’t trying to swoop in and fix or heal someone who isn’t asking for that kind of help. It’s a simple “I see you, I see what you’re going through, and its effect on you is very real.”
Treat outside validation as a nice surprise.
Validate yourself first and foremost.
Validate others when applicable, but try not to seek out too much validation from others. Some people will see all of who you are; some won’t. Be wary of when your actions are driven by wanting outside validation—this is a little red flag indicating that you’re trying to heal a part of yourself by gaining attention and respect from others. Until you heal the part of you that needs your attention, the outside validation will never be enough.
The more you can stop and acknowledge what you’re experiencing and how it’s affecting you, the more you can become an expert on you. You’ll get to know your pitfalls and how to mitigate them.
So remember my motto the next time you’re in a pinch—When In Doubt, Validate!
Blog written by Three Brodsky. I KNEW you knew it was me! I finally painted our house ok, GOSH. 😉
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