Most of us, all over the world, are starving for validation. And many of us don’t even know what it is or how to obtain it. To validate means to substantiate or verify something or someone. To witness; to see physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Validation is spiritual medicine; it heals the most fragile and “broken” parts of us. Giving validation to another person (or to yourself) is an act of empathy and love.
Validation means I’m willing (choosing) to drop what I want for the moment and be in the present, completely with them, witnessing their experiences. I’m willing (choosing) to build a bridge with the skill of validating, so they will know by my sincerity, my verbal & non-verbal actions, and my present moment-by-moment engagement that I care for them and genuinely want to understand what they are going through. The person will know that I “get it” and that I will not hurt, harm or intentionally negatively affect them. When I validate someone, I meet them on equal ground and our emotional exchange is sacred.
When I validate:
I’m willing (choosing) to be validating to myself and others.
I’m willing (choosing) to substantiate, acknowledge, “see” and witness another person’s (or my own) experiences and the emotions attached to those experiences.
I’m willing (choosing) to not only hear the words they are speaking, but also to feel the emotions connected to their words.
I’m willing (choosing) to recognize their non-verbals and understand and experience the emotions that are connected to their non-verbals.
I’m willing (choosing) to verify that what I’m interpreting about their experience is correct by asking them if my interpretation is mentally, physically and emotionally accurate. This is very important to do because you don’t want to make assumptions, assertions or guesses about what they are experiencing and feeling. You want to be accurate about their interpretations and perceptions, not yours.
Validating statements include:
- “That makes complete sense.”
- “I can see why you feel like that…”
- “I appreciate your situation – it sounds difficult & challenging…”
- “I’m sorry you are feeling sad or hurt or angry.”
- “I’ve never had something like that happen, and I can relate to your frustration & confusion.”
- “I can understand why you are feeling this way, and why you are perceiving it the way you are.”
- “I feel for you and want you to know I am here for you.”
- “I want you to know I’ve been in a similar spot” or “I have felt similarly.”
- “You’re not weird or wrong—your experience makes complete sense.”
- “I get what you’re feeling – I hear you say you are very scared & you don’t know what you are going to do. Is that correct?”
- “I want you to know I’m here for you, so please help me understand you…”
- “If I say something that is not accurate, please correct me and help me hear you accurately.”
- “I care about you—you matter! Your feelings and your experiences matter.”
- “You have permission to feel (sad, happy, uncomfortable, upset, angry, afraid, etc.).”
- “It is natural to feel … when …”
- “What you are experiencing is very normal / very human / very understandable. You are just like everyone else.”
Validating—and truly understanding—another individual prepares them to let down their defense and be vulnerable and open to feedback. When an individual is open to feedback, speaking any Truth to them will be very validating:
- Who you are—in your Soul/core—is responsible.
- I hope you’ll recognize that you are hurting yourself by believing fear / lies about yourself.
- You are being irresponsible by saying/doing/thinking …
- You are capable of changing / doing [this] and I don’t want to hear you say “I can’t” again.
- You are powerful. You can do this.
- Your choices affect me. May I tell you how I was affected when you …
- Because I care about you, I need to give you some feedback that might hurt, and please know that it is not my intention to hurt you …
Finally, and most importantly, each of us has the ability—and the responsibility—to validate ourselves. Ultimately, nobody else in the world can heal our insecurities, traumas and immaturity for us. Practice the skill of validating yourself. You can practice anytime, simply by thinking or saying any of the statements listed above. As you are open, honest and curious, and as you validate your anger, your fear, your emotional experiences of all types, you will learn about yourself, and you can choose to change.