Validation is a hot topic in the 21st century. I don’t know about you, but I see it almost every single day. That is the entire reason for social media, right? Seeking validation, posting your updates, and hoping everyone sees them. This is the reality of what validation has turned into these days. When we actually stop and think about it, we are all trying to interact with one another, but how do we do it appropriately and help build one another up in the right way? How do we stop the hate, stop the searching for likes online, actually talk with one another, and create better conversations and all around healthier mental health? It starts with understanding.
Where the Thoughts Started:
I will be the first to say that I get sucked into social media. It does feel good when you have some likes, or you can converse with your network online. So, let me also say that I have no judgement if you feel the same way. It’s just how life is right now. I was also guilty of using “I’m sorry” way too much when I didn’t really mean it. I got to thinking, why do we say these words so quickly? Is it a cop-out so we can change the topic, or get out of a conversation easily? Do we actually mean it every time we say it? I thought I did, until it became a meaningless word that was overused. The saying “choose your words wisely” is a true statement and we should all think about our word choices more frequently.
Why Do We Need Validation?
Similarly, this might seem like a funny question. Do we really need validation, or is that just something everyone talks about but says they don’t need? I would argue that, in fact, it’s extremely important that we validate each other. Let me tell you why. We need that sense of belonging and community. I know that I have said it before, and have heard other people say it as well, but sometimes we feel alone. We may feel that no one knows what they’re going through. I have felt that I am alone with my feelings and it can be hard to express them. When you feel like you are all alone, validation is sought out so deeply. We can seek this is many ways, one of the ways we do so is online.
Posting a sad thought, or seeking advice, or even airing dirty laundry out. At the end of the day, does this really make you feel better? Does it make you feel like you have that community or deep connection or conversation you desired for? For me, no. I think most people would agree.
Why I Wanted to Change How I Validate Someone:
I am a slow learner for this. I have had many bad habits for years. Again, just saying meaningless words for quick answers to someone is one of them. I know that I felt that my husband was complaining a lot, sometimes he had a bad day at work, or was frustrated with something. The easy thing to think was that he was complaining. That sounds really awful but it’s the truth. He would do it more every day and again I would have the meaningless response of “I’m sorry.” Shame on me. I was not listening to his needs or desires, I was not giving my husband the validation that he NEEDED. Why not? Because its harder than you think. We had a deep conversation about this and I turned around my thinking to create a more positive environment, and it worked. The hard part is continuing with it.
How Do We Validate Someone?
Next, a tough question; how should we validate somebody? The first part is key. You ready for it? We LISTEN. I know, crazy right? It really works, trust me. We all need someone to vent our feelings to and it feels good to be heard. This is the start of the process, it’s not always that simple though. You can listen with your ears and nod your head, but are you really listening? Are you understanding what the other person is saying? Ask questions along the way, get a deeper understanding. You can say, “I know that can be hard, you are right that is not fair” or something like “You are absolutely right to have those emotions.” Almost like a psychology tactic of having a client agree with themselves. You become an active listener and help the person understand their emotions. For me instead of saying “I’m sorry” I can say “I know your day was hard, it sounds like you had a few bad things happen and it can be really frustrating to have something not go the way you planned.” I am learning that it only takes a few more moments to validate someone the right way. Repeat what they’re saying, let them know you understand their emotions, and offer them a safe outlet to release their emotions.
Benefits of Validation:
Moving on, we can say that this is absolutely a two-way street. When you start to validate someone else, the other person is more receptive to listening to your needs as well. After something hard or if you are feeling a strong emotion, it can be so therapeutic to have someone listen to you and validate you. It’s absolutely okay to say that you need validation. I need someone to listen, and most of all I need someone to care. We as a society have become so shallow when it comes to our level of communication with one another. Just on the surface, we usually don’t go deeper, we can talk about the small things such as weather, sports, interests. Deep emotions are not shared, nor fears and concerns. But, why can’t we? Why can’t we go deeper and care for one another? Well, we should.
Steps to Become a Healthy Validator:
We have come to the hardest part of this entire blog. You can read this and maybe even agree with this, but how do we really use this? I can tell you that it’s not something that happens overnight. It can be a slow process, and sometimes we forget all this information. The first step is being aware, being aware that other people and maybe even you may need some sort of validation. The second step is listening to someone deeper, understanding what they’re saying. Don’t just nod your head yes, deeply and thoroughly absorb their speech, and remember key things. Step three, ask questions. Validation is not just listening, it’s communicating, it’s asking the person why they feel the way they do, or how they came about feeling the way that they do.
Lastly, it’s about validating someone. Letting them know you understand their thoughts and why they feel the way they do. It’s about connecting with them and letting them know that their thoughts and emotions are real and should be heard.
Creating Validation from Writing:
Next, I also think that writing down your thoughts can be very therapeutic. It can help you get your thoughts together and collected. It can be something like a journal, or a blog, or just a quick few sentences on a sticky note. It’s also a way to validate yourself. To let your emotions flow freely and understand yourself deeper. Validation is not just about communicating with someone else, but also getting the answers we seek from ourselves. We must first take care of ourselves, and that is 100% fine to say to help someone else.
I hope this opens a conversation for us to communicate with one other. I would love to talk with you down below in the comments! Join our community over on Facebook at The We Spot. You can also meet our writers here!