I've had a few conversations of late on the topic of feeling heard and validated and think its reasonable to presume many of us as part of our human nature want to be listened to, feel heard, be heard and in that validated.
We often look to others, those we work with, live with, and love for validation. Again, human nature. I know I do it. I share my feelings out loud and on the other end I want to know that in a nutshell the other someone is listening and gets what I'm saying.
A friend recently shared that she'd had a couple of encounters that brought up some prickly feelings. She told that she'd been wrestling to figure out what was really bothering her and why; and what she realized when she got to the core was that what she was feeling was familiar, old even and centered on not feeling heard, nor validated. In this particular incident, her feelings had been negated and in the end she felt frustrated.
In these experiences of feeling unheard we may end up negating and discounting our own feelings casting them off as unimportant and wrong, telling ourselves stuff like "get over it, you're being silly" and sweeping them under the rug to become a future dust pile of resentment.
After she'd shared her story, I was reminded how critical it is that we listen to ourselves in order to figure out what it is that we're feeling; and then move away from negating what we're experiencing. That may sound obvious and perhaps it is and yet I think so often we don't take time to stop, listen and acknowledge our own experience. When we do, we have the opportunity to practice self-validation.
Self-validation takes practice that's for sure and is a path to recognizing and accepting ones own thoughts and feelings.
Self-validation starts with listening to ourselves. Really listening. Being quiet and identifying what we're experiencing and feeling. By doing that, we give to ourselves what we want from others which is to be heard, held in compassion, acknowledged, and accepted. And this is ultimately what my friend did in getting to what was at the root for her. She kept probing and subsequently identified her feelings, named them and in time will work on the issue.
Because I'm not a therapist, nor an expert on the how to's of self-validation, I'm sharing some tools I found in this article in "Psychology Today and in this one too and this one too on being your own support system.
Self-validation is showing up, shining the light on our core, being quiet enough to lean in and learn to accept our feelings and ultimately our whole self.
When we put away any distractions, get present and listen, we can acknowledge what we're feeling, identify it even name it. And then work with the feeling.
The process of self-validation is to show up for yourself.
When we show up for ourselves we make a path towards self-connection to know more of who we are. We commit to stopping for a minute, turning in, tuning in. We then give ourselves the opportunity to become more more clear about what we want and where we want to go.
The point for me is not to stop reaching out to others for validation. I'm a connector and reach naturally for some level of validation. And with that, I think there's a balance. As I see it there's a yes and opportunity here. Reach out to others and show up for yourself.
Showing up for yourself builds connection with the one and only you.