Self-validation is one of the best ways for emotionally sensitive people to manage their own feelings.Self-validation is the step that comes before self-compassion.Self-validation is the recognition and acknowledgement of your own internal experience. Humans have a need to belong and feeling accepted is calming.Validation does not mean agreeing with or supporting feelings or thoughts. You can validate someone you don’t like even though you probably wouldn’t want to. Acceptance means acknowledging the value of yourself and fellow human beings.On the other hand, it’s extremely powerful when you allow your spouse to experience his or her true feelings and validate his or her emotions. One spouse’s validating attitude confirms that the other spouse has a right to feel the way he or she does.Remember, you can validate your spouse’s point of view while still possessing a different viewpoint.Validation is an opportunity to communicate that your spouse’s heart and emotions are important to you, regardless of whether you agree or they make sense to you. ” • “You are not being rational.” • “It’s nothing to get upset over.When you validate your spouse, you recognize, value and accept his or her deepest thoughts, opinions, ideas, beliefs and emotions. You shouldn’t let it bother you.” • “You should be over that by now.” That is a pretty sobering list.
Validation occurs when we help our spouse feel unconditionally accepted.To battle my natural tendency to debate and problem-solve Erin’s feelings, I remind myself of the truism, ” People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I have to constantly remember that Erin won’t care about my perspective, my emotions or my idea for a solution until she feels that I care about her.I’ve found there are three powerful ways for couples to validate each other: 1. A great deal of validation occurs if you get good at reflecting or repeating back what your spouse is saying: • “So what I hear you saying is __.” • “Is that what you are saying? ” • “It sounds like __ is really important to you.” • “So what bothered you was that __?When I say, “Erin, I really understand that you are hurting, that this has wounded you,” I am not necessarily saying, “Erin, I agree with you, and I was wrong.” Rather, I am saying, “I could tell that this really hurt you, and your feelings mean the world to me. ” It’s also important that you verbally communicate that you are with your spouse — on the same page and on the same team.The more you listen to and validate your spouse’s thoughts and feelings, the more connected you will feel.
The final step toward true intimacy and deep connection in a relationship takes place when you empathize with your spouse. Greg Smalley serves as the Vice President of Marriage at Focus on the Family.