This post by Sara Caitlyn Deal was originally posted on Southeast Psych’s blog.
Have you ever said something mean when you were angry that you later regretted? Or sent an email when you were really upset that later you wished was never sent? We have all done these things but communicating when overwhelmed with emotion does not usually work well. Validation, the recognition and acceptance of another person’s internal experience as being valid, can help emotionally sensitive people manage their emotions effectively. So, why is validation important?
Communicates acceptance- it is human nature to want to belong, being accepted and acknowledging the value of yourself and others is very calming
Helps a person know when they are on the right track- feedback from others that your thoughts and feelings are normal and make sense lets you know you are understood
Helps regulate emotions- knowing that you are understood reduces feelings of being left out or not fitting in. Validation helps to soothe people that are emotionally upset.
Builds an identity- Validation is a reflection of your values, beliefs, and patterns and helps others better understand your personality.
Builds relationships- Feelings of connection are expressed when someone is validated which helps to build and strengthen relationships.
Increases understanding and forms effective communication styles- Everyone sees, thinks, and hears things differently; two people can look at the same picture and interpret it in completely opposite ways. Validation is a way of understanding others viewpoints.
Shows others they are important- communicates to others that they are important and you care about their thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Validation is a simple concept to understand, but can be difficult to apply in practice. However, if you care about someone who is emotionally sensitive, validation is one of the most important and effective skills you can learn. Similar, if you are an emotionally unstable person, learning to validate yourself will help you manage your own emotions. For more information on validation and how to use validation check out the DBT website or blog.