Validation is important because it communicates I hear you, I see you, and I care. When experienced from others it can feel like you have received the gift of acceptance and feeling understood. This is what makes learning the art of validation so important. It is an important skill that increases healthy communication with others, deepens feelings of acceptance, and is a necessary step towards self-love.
Inversely, if you have ever felt invalidated you recognize the wounds it creates. Invalidation can be used in more overt forms of emotional abuse and manipulation in relationships. What is difficult about identifying validation versus invalidation is that many acts of invalidation are committed from well-intentioned loved ones who desire to love and support us. Often the goal of well-intentioned invalidators is to “make you feel better” or “help you see a different perspective”. However, what is often experienced is feelings of sadness or shame for feeling the way that one feels.
Here are some helpful ways to practice giving the gift of validation to others.
Here are some helpful statements to stay away from that increase the feelings of invalidation:
“I’m sorry you feel that way”
“You shouldn’t feel that way”
“At least its not as bad as..” or “It could be worse”
“Just don’t think about it and move on”
“ I won’t have this discussion”
Practicing validation can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Using these tips and avoiding certain statements can lead to increase healthy communication skills. If you or a loved one need further guidance in practicing healthy communication skills and navigating the difficulties of relationships, The Summit Counseling Center has therapist at both our Main and Satellite locations. To schedule an appointment or for more information call 678-893-5300 or visit us at www.summitcounseling.org.