Searching the internet on any given day and reading the many blog posts & news articles and watching videos you come across, it is easy to notice some patterns where the human psyche is concerned. These patterns are repeated the world over without prejudice to race, religion, gender, nationality or age.
There is one such pattern I would like to touch base on today, validation vs. invalidation.
Invalidation is when a person’s thoughts and feelings are rejected, ignored, or judged. Invalidation is emotionally upsetting for anyone, but particularly hurtful for someone who is emotionally sensitive. Invalidation disrupts relationships and creates an emotional distance. It breeds a disturbance in the life-force of the person being invalidated causing depression and anxiety. If left unchecked and ignored the person then has the potential to become annoyed, aggravated, bitter, frustrated, grouchy, grumpy, hostile, easily irritated, angry, and even vengeful. Ultimately the person will withdraw from social activities altogether, develop introverted tendencies and start doubting if life is worth the struggle.
Validation is when a person’s thoughts and feelings gain recognition or affirmation and their opinions are acknowledged as valid and worthwhile. Validation is emotionally uplifting for everyone no matter if you are emotionally sensitive or not. It cultivates positive relationships and experiences. It breeds feelings of happiness, joy, relief, satisfaction, contentment, hope, and cheerfulness. It binds the life-force of the person being validated to the person giving validation and produces positive energy. This positive energy can be seen and felt by all who surround the person being validated.
Now, let me be the first to say, I am not an expert on the human psyche. I have no degree or formal training in a school type setting. I do however have a lifetime of experience being bullied or invalidated myself and witnessing it happening to others. I have spent countless hours discussing such social issues with my daughter as well as others. I have spent years attending therapy with my daughter to help her through her depression. I have had the pleasure of attending DBT Skills Training again, with my daughter, and any other group setting I could find in an effort to learn and grow in this area. I have bought books to read and workbooks to complete. So I do feel I have some level of valid knowledge on this subject.
One thing I keep coming back to over and over again is that it is absolutely possible, YES, I did say it is 100% possible, to validate every single person you come in contact with on a daily basis. All you have to do is one, just ONE of these things: give them a kind look, nod your head in agreement, smile at them, be polite, or simply just pay attention when they speak. You don’t even have to open your mouth to say one word of response to help another person feel validated. You do not have to agree with what they are saying. You don’t have to like what they are saying. Just a simple gesture to give them the indication that you heard them is all it takes.
So why then, if it is so very easy to help another feel validated, is it so hard for us as a human race to follow through on this concept? None of us like feeling down or depressed, none of us like being ignored. We hate it when others fail to validate us. So why is there so much hate being spread around? Why does invalidation take the lead? The Golden Rule applies, “Treat other’s how you wish to be treated.”
I want to challenge all of you to make a mindful point today to validate another human being you come into contact with. Not only will it make them feel good, you will feel good as well. Spread acceptance, spread love.