Validation–that sense of self as unique, worthy, and valued, with a connection with others and the universe. Validation, with no judgment, is vital for inner peace and happiness, and without it you may feel you don’t matter. You may even feel invisible. In other words, validation requires unconditional recognition, acceptance, and appreciation for the whole person you are.
You may remember when someone lifted your spirits, and you felt good about yourself. And you may remember when some put you down, and you felt like a nothing inside. So others have the power to validate positive and negative, and you go through the ups and downs of how others make you feel.
Most of us get some positive validation from others, but there are those who live their whole life with a self-image of nothingness. When I worked in the jail, I counseled the homeless mentally ill. Sometimes I told them I saw their bright mind and good heart, and they could do something with their life. Their reaction was always the same. They’d pause, overwhelmed with tears, and say, “Nobody ever said that to me…nobody.” Then they’d wipe their tears on their shirt sleeve and smile. Validation gave them some meaning in their empty life.
We need to let each other know we’re important and appreciated, but in order to gain dominion over our own feelings we need to learn self-validation from within. What would it be like if you validated yourself, and didn’t need it from anyone else? You would have dominion over your feelings, and it would prevent opinions by others from invalidating you. And you’d be free.
“The only permission, the only validation, and the only opinion that matters in our quest for greatness is our own.” -Steve Marboli
“Darn right I’m important. And nobody’s gonna convince me I’m not. So there.”
Self-validation is a life-long process, and our experiences teach us what we need to know about ourself. We become less critical; we gain more understanding and tolerance of our total self; and we free ourself to be who we truly are. We don’t create a new person. We simply allow our true Self to emerge.
So how do you learn self-validation with strength to maintain it?
1. Assume the role of observer, and think about how you really feel about you. Sad, wounded, pretty good, could be better, disappointed, etc. No judgment. Just observe and let it be.
2. You don’t have to like every feeling you have, but you do need to own all of your feelings. They’re yours. They belong to you. And you can do whatever you want with them. Throw them in the trash, hang them on the wall, get a refund. Notice when you’re feeling judgmental, and decide you’re done with that feeling. Take judgment and criticism out of your life forever.
3. Identify and list what you consider positive and negative about you. Decide what you want to keep and what you want to release.
Example: I interrupt people when they’re talking. I can release that one.
I let dishes pile up in the sink. It’s okay to do that. (Smile) etc.
4. Start being kind to you, and know you deserve it. Give yourself what you missed as a child; begin giving yourself what you seek from others; when you feel unhappy or stressed, ask what you need, and when possible provide it for yourself; watch for success and praise yourself.
5. Accept mistakes and shortcomings as part of your learning process, and everyday look in the mirror and say, “This is me, warts and all. And I’m absolutely amazing.”
As you move along, practice relating less to your human self and more to your higher Self, that part that transcends human pain and knows the truth of who you are. Take back your dominion over how you feel, and let that higher Self shine with love and peace in your heart. You are beautiful.
May you always be true to your special Self.
Marilyn Fowler, Author
Of Silent Echoes