Validation: Part I


     It hit me yesterday.

     I had been searching and searching for what was constricting my heart in this current season. I felt stiff in the midst of paradise. Because, you see, everything around me is beginning to flourish, like really flourish.

     But there was this nagging feeling of distress, unrest, and agitation within my soul, manifesting itself in subtle yet noticeable ways to my own eyes.

     I didn't feel fully at peace and in the usual freedom I'm used to walking in.

     Something was lurking and making everything, and all my interactions just a tad bit lacking, and not fresh and vibrant as their potential.

     It's funny how we can treat a blessing.

     Much like we treat the truth.

     At first we look at it with side eyes before we allow ourselves to get excited and receive it. Because we know we've been disappointed one too many times in life, and we think this could be some sort of cruel joke or prank.

     I've been in a season of blessing--crazy unmerited favor. I call it my "Slip n' Slide" season. I've somehow entered a slip n' slide and everything that was once hard is becoming easy. And along this slip n' slide I keep collecting blessing after blessing. It's been so effortless. And incredibly amazing to experience and witness.

      So you would think that being on such a slip n' slide means I'm experiencing nothing but absolute bliss, but that's just not the case.

     As I said earlier, something was constricting my heart.

     God had been giving me subtle clues all last week, of which I totally missed until retrospect.

     And then it hit me yesterday. It took a preacher on a Saturday night service to say it plainly:

     "Stop searching for validation from the very thing that you are meant to bring Light to." Because that, Fill in the blank: (Workplace, that Mean Boss, Your Ex, Hollywood, Your Professor) can't give you the full validation you truly need and want. Nor were those vessels mean to be the foundation of our identity.

     In essence, we are already validated by God. And we are meant to bring that sense of validation (not self entitlement) to all those that we come in contact with, letting them know that they are loved, important, and seen.

     Even in our workplace (especially in our workplace), in our families, in our schools, and in our closest friendships.

     Yes. Challenging, vibrant and courageous words indeed.

     And yet we know vaguely the power of validation with our heads, but do we know this with our hearts?

     And better yet, do we live this out? Moreover, have we come to terms with our own fundamental need for validation in healthy ways. To not just be givers of such generosity, but receivers, true partakers.

     I started researching the importance and art of validation in the midst of writing this post. I've now read and researched over a dozen articles from psychologists, mothers, fathers, pastors, and the like regarding validation, its role in our lives and how we can be partakers in such validation.

     Here are some of my findings about Validation that I wanted to highlight to you: 

"Validation Creates Safety in Relationships:
Validation simply means to substantiate or make something valid. Validation does not mean agreement and is especially important where disagreement is present. Validation is nothing more than communicating to others that their feelings, point of view, or idea is valid. Most people simply want to know that they have been heard, and that what they had to say was not rejected or dismissed as unimportant or insignificant. Validation creates a sense of safety where people can share what’s on their minds and hearts without fear of how the other will react. Once safety is created by validation, certain qualities are instilled that ultimately lead to a healthy relationship regardless of the context."

Credit: Pastor Scott
Benefits of Validation: 
"Validation communicates acceptance. Humans have a need to belong and feeling accepted is calming. Acceptance means acknowledging the value of yourself and fellow human beings.

Validation helps the person know they are on the right track. Life can be confusing and difficult. Feedback from others that what you are experiencing is normal or makes sense lets you know that you thinking and feeling in understandable ways. Your internal experience does not have to be the same as anyone else’s but it helps to know that your experience is understandable. Or not.

Validation helps regulate emotions. Knowing that you are heard and understood is a powerful experience and one that seems to relieve urgency. Some say it’s because when we don’t feel understood it creates thoughts of being left out or not fitting in. Those thoughts lead to fear and maybe panic because of the importance of being part of a group is critical for survival, especially in the early days of mankind, and of the potential loss of love and acceptance which is a basic need. Whatever the reason, validation helps soothe emotional upset.

Validation helps build identity.  Validation is like a reflection of yourself and your thoughts by another person. Your values and patterns and choices are highlighted and that helps people see their own personality characteristics more clearly.

Validation builds relationships. Feeling accepted builds relationships. Some research shows that chemicals related to feeling connected are released when someone is validated.

Validation builds understanding and effective communication. Human beings are limited in what they can see, hear and understand. Two people can watch the same event occur and see different aspects and remember important details differently. Validation is a way of understanding another person’s point of view. 
Validation shows the other person that they are important. Whether the person being validated is a child, a significant other, a spouse, a parent, a friend, or an employee, validation communicates that they are important to you and you care about their thoughts and feelings and experiences. Validation also shows the other person that you are there for them.

Validation helps us persevere. Sometimes when change is very difficult, having the difficulty of the task recognized helps people keep working toward their goal. It seems to help replenish willpower."

Credit: Karyn Hall, Ph.D.

"Validation of feelings means just about everything to having a truly lovely relationship. If your relationship is suffering from validation starvation it is important that it be adjusted. If this lack of validation has been present for some time, then you may need help in getting your communication back on track. Start to make a genuine effort to stop reacting and start listening to your partner’s feelings. Don’t you want to be heard as well?" 
Credit: The Art of Relating: Validation StarvationBy Christine Kniffen, MSW, LCSW, Therapist & Relationship Coach

     In my next blog post, Validation Part II, I'll be sharing some more gold nuggets that are helping to free me up and strengthen my current friendships and relationships. I'll also talk about how validation is seen as suspicious to some people.....

 Wisdom's Knocking: 

"The older I get the more I’m convinced
that we all long for someone to believe in us
and tell us they’re proud of us." 

 - Sammy Rhodes

An extra nugget:

Some of you may have already seen this popular short film from several years ago, aptly titled: 

In light of what's been shared in this post, I think it's totally worth a view. Hope you enjoy! By the way, you're amazing and your feelings regarding this post are valued and valid... ;)

(Trouble seeing the video above? Here's the link: