Dial a Counselor with Sybil Shaibu: What does validation mean to you?

Dial a Counselor with Sybil Shaibu: What does validation mean to you?

One characteristic of us humans is that, we are social beings. As such this predisposes us to having a natural tendency to of having a sense of community. And it’s out of this desire for community that our urge for seeking validation is birthed.

Having a sense of community comes naturally and it’s normal seeing that we live a community.

Desiring validation is part of life. Each one of us at different points in time will desire/need validation to enable you move to the next point of your life. Where you go overboard is when you realize that all your decisions, as well as the course of your life is dependent on a collective agreement from others. Don’t get me wrong but depending on validation from others has a way of disempowering you from living your own life.

Each one of us have one point or the other desired validation. But the question is what does validation mean to you? Validation means different things at different things stages in a person’s life.

What is Validation?

Validation is the recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile. It is a skill that is not commonly recognised but is extremely important in forming healthy relationships. One of the things we overlook is, how always trying to please people tends to drain our energy.

To validate someone’s feelings is first to be open and curious about someone’s feelings. Next, it is to understand them, and finally it is to nurture them. Validation doesn’t mean that you have to agree with or that the other person’s experience has to make sense to you.

Validation is an intricate subject of discussion and many tend to not talk about it. Validation begins when we seek other people’s opinions on our decisions in life, and it becomes complicated when we depend on this validation and live our life from the mode of “people-pleasing” and meeting others’ expectations. Not only does this disempower us, but it also adds more stress, anxiety, and depression to our lives.

Maslow’s psychological studies postulates that, we need to meet our basic needs of safety, survival, love, and a sense of belonging in our communities. This will allow us to tend to our self-esteem and listen to our intuitive guiding signals. From here, we can cut the ties of depending on validation and instead, forge our own path in life and thrive along the journey.

Why Validation Is Important

Emotional validation plays a number of important roles. Some of the benefits include:

  • Communicating acceptance: When you validate someone’s emotions, you are showing that you care about and accept them for who they are.
  • Strengthening relationships: People who show each other acceptance are able to feel more connected and build stronger relationships.
  • Showing value: When you validate someone’s emotions, you are showing them that they are important to you.
  • Better emotional regulation: When people feel that others hear and understand them, it can help lessen the intensity of strong emotions. This can be particularly important when it comes to strong negative or distressing feelings. Some research suggests that offering people emotional validation may help them better regulate their emotions.
  • Increased trust: Trust increases when we show that we can understand someone or at least show we are trying very hard to understand them. To offer validation, we don’t need to have the answers or the solution – we can give up being “right.” Validation is a pause to try to see things from the other’s perspective. This increases trust in the relationship and can invite a greater depth of understanding you have for each other.

Seeing how our current world is at variance with itself, the least each one of us can do is to be able to validate each other. Even during times when we don’t agree, having the skill of validation can go a long way. Especially when there is an action, thought, or feeling that is difficult to endure or hard to understand, validation can help us seek the common ground of mutual understanding.

To offer validation, we don’t need to have the answers or the solution – we can give up being “right.”

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