validation strategies

Validation Strategies: Bonus - Validate yo' self!! Part Two

Validation isn't just for external relationships. If you want to take it to the next level with some upper division therapy shit, try the validation strategies on yourself. I'll be doing bonus blogs with each validation strategy to give pointers for how to validate yourself so you can heal and strengthen your relationship with you.

Strategy Two: Reflect back!

In the same way we can reflect back to others (see reflect back blog), we can use this skill intrapersonally to build a relationship with ourselves.

But, how!?!

Glad you asked! We reflect back by observing our experience and putting words on it. You can do this by journaling or by just labeling things in your head (yup...I'm advocating talking to yourself. You do it anyway, might as well do it intentionally and use your inner monologue to validate rather than tear you down!) Notice thoughts, emotions, behaviors, body sensations, action urges, ect. This observing and describing helps us be mindful, slow down, notice patterns, and gain insight.

Example: "So when he was late to dinner I took it personally and got mad." By making that statement you give yourself the opportunity to check the facts and question if it was actually personal, it can help you feel empathy in the situation, and it can help identify your triggers.

This is best done with an nonjudgmental stance and a sense of curiosity. It'd be rad to take that last example and add the phrase "isn’t that interesting" to the end. So it would be "when he was late to dinner, I took it personally and got mad. Isn’t that interesting." Your relationship with yourself will grow leaps and bounds by seeing yourself with spaciousness and grace and wonder.

Validation Strategies: Reflect Back

In therapy, we look at ways to build relationships through effective communication. There are some basic ways to help people feel connected and, in psycho-babble terms, they're called "validation strategies". If any of your relationships feel strained or if you just want to enhance an already kick ass relationship, do more validating!!! In this little series I’m doing, I will go through the different strategies of validation.

Strategy Two: Reflect back

So, since you are a good student and have been practicing the first validation strategy in the validation strategy series, it’s time to add on. This next validation strategy is a way for you to stay engaged and check for understanding.

"Reflecting back" is simply echoing back what the person is saying, or stating what you observed, making sure that you are actively listening, comprehending, and tracking what’s being said. When you reflect back, you give validation to the other person, and proov that what they said is being heard and understood. In the end, isn’t that what we all want!?!  

Here’s a few admittedly lame examples: "When I was late to dinner you thought I did it on purpose and were mad. Did I get that right?" "So I’m hearing that you would really want me to take out the trash every other day." "Sounds like you are in a lot of pain still from that surgery."

Key point: No judgement, be open minded, truly seek to understand. Be aware of sarcasm, tone and body language (an eye roll or a sigh or mocking tone while reflecting back is a recipe for disaster!). The goal is to connect and promote more openness with the other person and a judgemental vibe will shut that down.

Alright you crazy kid, go out there and give it a try! You may not do it perfectly, but that's ok. Keep trying and watch your communication and connection improve!

Validation Strategies: Bonus - Validate Yo Self!!

Validation isn't just for external relationships. If you want to take it to the next level with some upper division therapy shit, try the validation strategies on yourself. I'll be doing bonus blogs with each validation strategy to give pointers for how to validate yourself so you can heal and strengthen your relationship with you.

 

Strategy one: show up!

Real talk: How often to you show up for yourself? How often do you really take the time to check in? If your gut tries to get a hold of you, do you take the call or let it go to a voicemail you rarely check? Do you make uninterrupted time to be with yourself or do you spend alone time frantically distracting?

If a friend did to you what you do to yourself, how would you feel? Maybe sad and alone. Maybe hurt. Maybe pissed. Maybe resentful. Maybe you just give up on sharing important details about your thoughts, feelings, needs, boundaries, and values.

So often we disconnect from ourselves then wonder why we feel disconnected from our lives and our relationships. How could I fully listen to another if I'm not willing to listen to myself? How can I assert a need or a boundary if I don't know what they are? How can I express my emotions to someone if I don't how I feel?

Your relationship with yourself is SO important! If you feel like it needs some help, try paying attention to you. Start with planning some alone time, free of distraction. Maybe take a walk in nature or journal or meditate. Create a time to check in and pay attention, even just once a week or few a few min a day. It may take a while to grow, heal, or rebuild your relationship with yourself. It may not always be easy. It may not always be convenient. But you're worth it!

Validation Strategies: Show Up!

In therapy, we look at ways to build relationships through effective communication. There are some basic ways to help people feel connected and, in psycho-babble terms, they're called "validation strategies". If any of your relationships feel strained or if you just want to enhance an already kick ass relationship, do more validating!!! In this little series im doing, I will go through the different strategies and of validation.

Strategy one: show up!

Duh. If you want to connect or make someone feel heard or seen you need to create a situation where that's possible. Making yourself available, setting up a time to talk, or answering a call or text or in person request is validating. It makes the person feel they are important. I can't tell you the number of times that I've talked to couples who feel hurt or invalidated because they never see their partner. Similarly, I've seen friendships get ruined or dissolved  because the friends never see each other.

But don't just be a warm body. Actually show up. Eliminate distraction. Turn off the TV....even if you're in the middle of binge watching your latest Netflix show,  there's this nifty thing they have called the "pause button" now and I would highly suggest using it. Put away the phone. Or if you're on the phone or texting, don't be watching TV and driving and painting your nails or whatever else you might be tempted to do. Focus on the conversation at hand. People notice. They care. I'm sure you like feeling attended to, so this is a great time to practice the "golden rule" and do that kindness to someone else.

Internal distractions should also be reduced. These might include, but not be limited to: making a grocery list, planning what to say next, judging the other person, daydreaming, physical pain or fatigue or hunger. Do your best to notice and eliminate as much as possible. In the case of pain or fatigue or hunger, I suggest saying something up front like "hey, just so you know I'm super tired, I'm doing the best I can, just don't want you to take it personally in case I yawn or something. I'm here. I'm listening."

Challenge: practice showing up today. Make an effort to fully arrive and listen. It will help your relationships and make you feel good about yourself. Now go get 'em tiger!