I have promised myself that I won’t blog about relationships. Not because I don’t know a thing or two about them, but because I am not yet married. I have not studied relationship and family counseling, so I do not feel competent enough to dish out advice in this area.
Anyway, I feel a little bit competent enough to give my personal opinions on friendships and interpersonal associations, because I have had quite a bit of experience in this area. I am in introverted person, with reclusive tendencies, but I still try to interact with people. At least, with the advent of social media, we all can pretend we have a vibrant social life even when we don’t. Funny, isn’t it?
Anyway, back to the topic at hand: validation… You might feel like ooo, this geh don come again with all her big big gramma! How pesin go sabi d meaning of validation? Chill, aiite? Imma tell you what I mean by validation.
Validation in this context means feeling like your thoughts, feelings, opinions, behavior and lifestyle choices are normal and understandable.
I have been around many people who, during a quarrel tell me that they cared for me deeply. But hey, I never felt that way! It is one thing to feel love or affection for someone; it is another thing to show that love in a way that the recipient feels it. This is a skill we all need to learn so that we can avoid unnecessary pain and hurt in our relationships with our spouses, friends, family members, children, work colleagues and nearly about everyone we associate with.
Very few people will agree that they invalidate others, i.e. rejecting, ignoring and basically treating their opinions, feelings, and behaviours don’t count, are abnormal and unreasonable. But most of us do it all the time. When you say to someone you shouldn’t be unhappy about that, Why are you acting like that, and worst of all, when you start by pointing out the flaws in someone’s opinion by arguing or debating with the person, you are invalidating the person.
So how do we learn validation in our associations? I’m not advocating agreeing with everything someone does/doesn’t do, but by showing support even when you disagree with another person. How do I do this? I have a man I’ve known for a while who is undergoing a divorce. I asked him a few questions about his feelings and from his reply, I could see that he was trying hard to repress his emotions about the whole divorce. So what did I do? I found points in what he was sharing with me to agree with, instead of coming straight out and pointing out the flaws in his thinking. The end result is that we felt happier at the end of the conversation and he had the relief of unburdening himself.
We can also learn validation by validating ourselves! Yes, because self-validation is very important. In self-validation, we treat our thoughts, emotions and behaviours as being valid, normal and understandable. We do not have to justify, like or believe them, but we do not say to ourselves that we have no right to feel this way, think such and act in such a manner. Self-validation is also done by giving ourselves a pat on the back for all the good we show to others which others overlook, like when you speak kindly to an annoying person even when you feel like telling her to buzz off!
Validation is very simple and can be summed up in four phrases:
- Treat yourself with as much love, compassion, kindness, understanding and acceptance as you show to others
- Treat yourself as you would expect others to treat you
- Treat others as you would like to be treated
- Treat others as they would like to be treated.
Very simple, really!
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