Validating our inner child is one of the best things we can do, especially if she (he) has suffered from emotional neglect for the longest time. When we validate her feelings, it aids in her healing and recovery. Her unresolved needs of not being listened to are now being met. Ultimately, it boosts our emotional well-being from the inside-out.
Let’s understand more about what validation is about. In general, when we validate someone, we are showing that we acknowledge his or her emotional experience. The opposite is true of invalidation when we ignore, reject or judge the other person.
Validation doesn’t mean that we have to agree with the reactions or choices of others. We are simply saying that we can understand why they would feel a certain way based on what happened. Also, we are demonstrating acceptance of who they are – regardless of how they feel or think.
What Happens When We Validate Someone Else
When we validate, we give them a safe space for them to safely share their thoughts and feelings. We don’t apply judgment while actively listening and we are open to hearing their side of the story. At the same time, we are assuring them that it is okay not to feel okay. Our task is to simply let them feel heard, understood, acknowledged and accepted.
We validate with a nod or sign of agreement or understanding. Sometimes, validation entails listening and waiting for the person to share. At other times, it can be a hug or a gentle touch.
In the absence of validation, the other person may feel as if it is wrong for her to feel what she feels or that there is something wrong with her. It can create misunderstanding and problems in relationships. In fact, invalidation has been suggested as one of the primary reasons contributing to mental issues such as inflicting harm to oneself.
Many children have been taught from an early age that expressing their feelings were bad and wrong. They were not allowed to feel a certain way. Some were even severely punished for expressing their thoughts and feelings. In households where parents don’t model how to deal with feelings, there is an implicit sense of invalidation since no one talks about them. Clearly, there are benefits to validation.
How to Validate Your Inner Child
Which brings me to how do we go about validating our inner child especially where her feelings have never been acknowledged previously.
With validation, we start by being present and curious about what our inner child is going through. She may be unable to articulate what she feels at the start. However, we are patient and we allow her to feel safe to experience what she feels. A skilled practitioner can also be on hand to help her identify the emotions that she is having. (Contact me if you need assistance with processing emotions and feelings.)
Next, we nurture her by responding with certain comforting and assuring words or actions that validate her experience. An example of an action is the butterfly hug that we can apply. Some examples of words that we can use are as follows…
Hmm…I hear you.
It does sound hurtful.
It sure seems like you have a lot to deal with.
I know just what you mean.
Based on what you’ve described, am I right that you are feeling this _______?
How you feel matters to me.
I acknowledge how you feel.
You did the best you could with what you had back then.
It’s not what you do but who you are that I love.
You are NOT a mistake even if you have made one.
You have it in you to thrive in the world.
I see you. I trust you. I believe in you.
Validate Your Inner Child Often
Give your inner child the essential Vitamin: Validation!
Start by validating your inner child, so that you can improve the relationship you have with yourself. Validation is a practice in self-love. I suggest validating her as often as you can. The more neglect you have experienced as a child, the more she would need Vitamin Validation.
When you validate others, your relationships with them will also improve. You can also share with them this article on how validation simply raises mental health and boosts connection.
Shine in self-love always,
Self-Love Healing Therapist
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