Let’s Normalize Validating Our Own Feelings

Even if they don’t make sense to anyone.

Sadia M.
Sadia M.
Jun 9 · 6 min read

“Just like children, emotions heal when they are heard and validated.”― Jill Bolte Taylor

The first time my emotions were heard and validated was in therapy. Before that, I walked around with a fake mask of false positivity pretending everything was normal.

  • Stop this drama, you’re overreacting.
  • Don’t be a wimp.
  • Stop complaining, you have so much to be grateful for.
  • And my favorite: It’s no big deal. It happens to all of us.

What does emotional validation look like?

Ever since that therapy session, I’ve made it a point to validate emotions, both mine and others. This does not mean I agree with people all the time or justify their actions, it only means I make an effort to allow them to be human. It means I tell them it’s normal to be human and feel all these emotions that don’t make sense to anyone.

Why is validation important?

The word ‘validation’ gets a negative connotation. “I don’t seek external validation” is the modern self-help mantra.

  • It communicates that the other person is important to you.
  • It can lessen the intensity of strong emotions. When someone tells you that what you’re feeling is normal, it feels like a heavyweight has lifted off your chest.

How do you validate emotions?

An article published in Psychology Today suggests there are six levels of emotional validation:

  • Level two is accurate reflection. It refers to summarizing the other’s feelings, a practice used in psychological counseling. Saying something as simple as “It must be so frustrating” or “Anyone would go mad in such a situation. It’s totally justified” can go a long way. Self-reflection can sound like “I’m angry. I’m hurt”.
  • Level three is mind reading. Most people mask their real emotions and may not clearly express them. This level requires that you accurately label the real emotion.
  • Level four is understanding emotions in the context of the person’s unique circumstances. If someone from another cultural or religious background finds your comments offensive, you wouldn’t say, “But there was nothing wrong with it. You’re overreacting”. Instead, you would try to understand that from where they come from their emotions are completely valid. Self-validation would mean that you show the same empathy to your own self.
  • Level five is normalizing emotional reactions. Simply let the other person or yourself know that your emotional reaction is completely normal.
  • Level six is radical genuineness. This is when you understand someone on a deeper level because your experiences are shared. For example, if you’ve had an abusive parent, you can genuinely understand the emotions of someone who’d had an abusive parent. At this level, self-validation can look like finding a community of people who share the same experiences as you. It’s liberating simply listening to someone who has been through what you’re going through describe their emotions.

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Sadia M.

Written by

Sadia M.

4X top writer. Words in top Medium pubs. Open to gigs. Join my value-packed newsletter: https://bit.ly/3yfiuln • Reach out: sadiamwrites@gmail.com

Ascent Publication

Strive for happier. Join a community of storytellers documenting the climb to happiness and fulfillment.

Sadia M.

Written by

Sadia M.

4X top writer. Words in top Medium pubs. Open to gigs. Join my value-packed newsletter: https://bit.ly/3yfiuln • Reach out: sadiamwrites@gmail.com

Ascent Publication

Strive for happier. Join a community of storytellers documenting the climb to happiness and fulfillment.

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