Self-validation is the antidote to self-blame.
We are so used to taking responsibility and holding ourselves to such high standards. So when we have emotional reactions or we can’t control our thoughts we tend to self-criticise.
Self-validation is about accepting what is, with curiosity and without trying to change it. In my experience, criticising ourselves for having human experiences only makes us feel worse. Especially in the long term.
Self-validation can feel incredibly vulnerable. We have to acknowledge what we’re really experiencing and it can bring up a lot. For some of us, it may be the first time that we’ve been able to be honest. Many of us grow up in homes where sharing our emotions wasn’t welcomed. We were taught not to “put upon” anyone else, so sometimes it was easier to not feel at all.
Self-validation is also about showing ourselves empathy. Again, something that we maybe haven’t experienced before. I don’t know about you, but I feel like we live in a “don’t feel sorry for yourself” culture, where we’re encouraged to see the positives and not to dwell on the things that are hard.
We don’t trust ourselves that we won’t fall down the negative rabbit hole, but how will we ever know how to get out, if we never practice feeling?
Showing yourself empathy can also feel really upsetting, in a “I need this but it feels like too much” kind of way. I’ve had moments when I’ve wanted to hide from empathy. Kindness makes me cry. This is a sign that we truly need it.
Self-validation isn’t all that easy. Especially in the short term. It takes practice and sometimes it’s easier to experience validation from a friend or therapist first.
But true growth is about being open to our experiences. All of our experiences. 💗