Everyone wants to feel that they matter. They want to be heard and seen, and they want their feelings to be understood and accepted. Validation helps a person feel cared for and supported. Yet, too often a person can feel that their inner experiences are judged and denied. This can lead to low self-worth or feelings of shame. Validating a loved one and acknowledging that you hear them does not mean you have to agree with what is being relayed; hearing a person and agreeing with them are two different things.
How to Be More Validating
Validation starts with the self. To address this, you must understand your internal experience as well as your actions and behaviors. People often fight how they feel, judging themselves about how they experience situations and events. Sometimes a person prefers ignoring how they feel insides, numbing themselves with substances and other sabotaging habits.
How Can I Learn to Be More Self-Validating?
It helps to name your emotions. The act of identifying what you are feeling can be confusing, you may therefore need to ask yourself what triggered the feeling in the first place. It’s also important to show yourself some kindness, people are often quick to discount their feelings and engage in self-criticism.
How Can I Learn to Be More Validating of Others?
The actions that allow one to be more validating of the people in their life are similar to those that undergird self-validation: kindness and empathy. If a person is struggling, help them identify how they feel, and what triggered the feeling as well. Show some empathy even if you feel you are the target of their negativity.
Do People Who Feel Validated Enjoy Stronger Relationships?
Listening to a partner’s point of view strengthens the bond of a relationship and builds on it. Validation, however, does not mean a partner must agree with whatever is being communicated and shared, it just means that they are hearing you out. Validating a partner confirms the importance of the relationship.