How We Validate Each Other
Truth be told, I never really lived my life with putting much conscious thought into Validation, in any way whether giving, receiving, or anything in between. As my research and development of an understanding of Mindfulness continues, I realize many things.
Some of those things being, Validation means much more to me then I realized. That’s why I used the word conscious. It means a lot to me personally, in that I can admit that at times, I certainly need validation. I say need, and what I am referring to is not a need that’s necessarily a requirement. Maybe I can make it more understood if I say that in this scenario the word need, maybe better resemble a want, and not necessarily something that is an absolute requirement.
Once I was able to admit that I wanted validation, I wasn’t referring to the type of need where I am literally spoiled, but more in the sense that I want to try to be as fair as I’m able to, and not expect validation, or compliments, or all the bells and whistles every single time I do the smallest of good things. But, a bit of validation, in the form of things like a thank you, or small recognition, or appreciation, is fair to have a yearning for.
We may not always get what we want, so I would say, sure you can want it, but protect yourself, by never expecting it. If we aren’t acting spoiled, or demanding validation like it should automatically be expected, can mean that when we do receive it, it has a bit more of importance, with more unexpectedness, and a positive surprise. It seems to give more meaning and value to it.
One thing fair to understand though, is the good things we want, things like validation that make us feel good, does not travel on a one way street, and we gotta be willing to give it when warranted.
What I began to find and realize in research, is that there can be, and usually are multiple varied levels of Validation. They come at different times, different ways, and they are a way of expanding Validation as a whole. The “DBT Skills Training Workbook” go into details in explaining those levels, and what each one means.
First, we get into the most basic, and that is to just Pay Attention. Look interested, and not bored. It isn’t a time to be multitasking, so, just back, look them in the eye, and listen to what they have to say. Reflect Back as well. That could mean saying back what the other person said, be sure that your understanding is accurate in what they have said. Keep the language and tone to levels that do not seem judgemental.
For as much as this is about listening and understanding in regards to validation, there is another level that tells us to also be aware of what is NOT being said. If you are not doing that, you are operating in a level that is called Read Minds, and what that really means is, to not act like a mind reader. Don’t try to predict what you think the other person is about to say, and even more important, please do not try to complete people’s sentences for them. All that is, is nothing but just plain rude, and it is clear evidence, that you obviously not paying full attention, and the validation you think you’re providing, is actually, the complete opposite.
With the levels and practices listed so far, if those guidelines are followed, you don’t really have to be told that you need to Understand, as you’ll be providing proof that you do understand. Understanding comes much better when you are already doing it anyway. Another good way to gain understandings are to notice other things, besides just listening to what a person is telling you. Try to gain understanding of their feelings, thinking. Validate on those levels as well.
Lastly, just be who you are. Avoid the complete opposites of validating, and what I mean by that is do not play the games of “one up” or “one down.” Trying to outdo others, or trying to make your life seem so much harder then theirs is just shallow and phony, and serves zero purposes.
Validation is important, and it represents a sincere respect for the other person. A little bit of validation in life is important,(and probably needed) by everyone. It shows we care, we understand, and that we know how to listen.