Validation is the recognition or affirmation that a person's feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile. An example of validation could be emotional support or encouragement. Validation does not mean that you agree or approve of the person's feelings or opinions. It is the action or process of affirming their feelings or opinions. Acknowledging the existence of them. Validation helps to build relationships and regulate emotions. It is a way of showing that you understand and accept their thoughts and feelings just as they are.
Self-validation is the acceptance of your own thoughts and feelings. It doesn't mean that you believe your thoughts or feelings are justified. It is normal to have thoughts which may be unexpected or don't reflect your principles or standards of behavior. You may also have feelings that are not justified. The more you fight these unjustified thoughts or feelings, or judge yourself for having them, the more emotional distress you may experience. Self-validation will allow you to manage your emotions more effectively.
The acceptance of these emotions will calm you and help you to understand more about yourself. Self-validation strengthens your identity and improves your skills at managing your emotions. It will also improve your experience, knowledge and good judgement. Self-validation will involve mindfulness, which is the quality or state of being conscious or aware. Mindfulness involves focusing on your awareness on the present moment, acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.
There are six levels to validating yourself. Level 1 is to Be Present. Avoid dissociating, daydreaming or preventing the development of your emotions. Listen to yourself. Feel the pain of the sadness, fear, guilt or shame you are experiencing. Level 2 - Accurate Reflection Whatever you are experiencing, make it visible or understood. Acknowledge your internal experience and label it accurately. Reflect on what may have triggered that emotion and identify when the event may have occured. Level 3 - Guessing You won't always know exactly what you are thinking or feeling. When this happens, you could imagine as though you are observing the situation from a third person point of view.
Imagine as though you are someone else, outside of the situation, observing what you are experiencing. Imagine how another person would feel if they had a similar experience and then apply those feelings to what you are experiencing, to see if it resonates. Level 4 - Validating By History You may have thoughts and feelings that are based on events that have happened in your past. Maybe when you argue with your relationship partner or friend, it reminds you of something you experienced when you were a child. You may remember your parents fighting and how it caused you emotional distress.
Validate your thoughts and feelings and tell yourself that it is acceptable and understandable for you to have those thoughts and emotions. Level 5 - Normalising Avoid fighting or judging any intense emotions. Sometimes people believe that their emotional reactions are not normal. We all have emotions and no one is happy all of the time. It's normal to experience sadness, anger, guilt, shame or any other emotion. It may not be pleasurable to experience these emotions, but understand and accept that it is normal for you to experience them.
Level 6 - Radical Genuineness Be true to yourself. Proceed from genuine feelings. Do not let other people define you or make decisions for you, that you should make for yourself. Rejecting yourself is one of the highest levels of invalidation. You are so much more than your behaviours. So much more than your thoughts and feelings. Though changing your thoughts, feelings and behaviours may relieve your pain or suffering. Keep a gratitude journal to recognise and celebrate all of the good things that have happened in your day.
Write down the things that you have done well, the positive decisions you have made and the progress you have made. You can even write down the things that didn't require any action, just being without judging the present moment. You may be tempted to seek external validation. When you do this, you are basically looking for someone else to approve of you or believe in you. When you could just give yourself what you are seeking from them. Give yourself the validation first, before you seek it from anyone else. Once you have given it to yourself, it is likely that you won't even desire it from anyone else.
People seem to gravitate towards those who are self-validating. A person who is self-validated does not need anything from you, they are already full. They are willing to give you their time and energy and listen to what you have to say. A person who is self-validated can make you feel as though you are the most important person in the world. They have the power of delighting, attracting and fascinating people. When you practice self-validation, you become the charismatic, charming person that everyone gravitates towards.