When it comes achieving psychological well being; validation plays an incredibly important role.
This primarily consists of two aspects: On one side this means that one’s thoughts, emotions, feelings and behaviours will be acknowledged and accepted by other human beings; and on the other side that one’s identity is accepted by others.
However, what is absolutely clear here, is that it is not possible for ones feelings thoughts, emotions and behaviours to be accepted and acknowledged by every human being and neither is it possible for every human being to accept ones identity.
The Ideal Relationship
So although it is not possible to be validated by every human being, one has this possibility through individual relationships. This could be through relationships with friends, family or colleagues for example. Here ones identity and internal processes will be accepted, appreciated and valued.
And as this process is taking place, it will also be occurring in the other person. They will both be giving and receiving; with neither of them feeling as though they have been invalidated or used.
Through these relationships with others, one will also look to be validated for their own self expression. And no matter what ones dreams or aspirations are, there will be support from the other person.
This will be an action that is mirrored between the people in the relationship; with each person becoming enriched through this process.
Due to one being validated by others, one is likely to have a low tolerance to being invalidated. Being around people that honour who they are and what they are going through is not only part of their life experience, it is also what they have come to expect from life.
If they need someone to talk to about how they feel or what is going though their mind or what they want to achieve from life; someone is there and if they’re not available straight away, then their never far away.
And as their feelings, thoughts and emotions are being heard and their self expression and identity is being supported, they are likely to feel whole and together inside.
The need to repress or deny who they are is not there. And as they usually have someone around to talk to about how they feel; they rarely run away from or repress how they feel.
Each one of these descriptions above describes what it is like for a human being that leads a life of being validated. They could be described as absolute examples and that reality is not always like that. This may be true, but for the purpose of clarity and impact, I have chosen to use two extremes in this article.
And for someone that is constantly invalidated or lives a life of experiencing invalidation as a regular occurrence; it may well sound idealistic and out of touch with how life is.
To the person that is invalidated, the world rarely mirrors back their true reflection what this person sees does not create happiness or joy; what it creates is frustration, anger and a whole myriad of other experiences. This person is also likely to have a high tolerance for being invalidated.
And how this invalidation is experienced can range from being ignored and unacknowledged to being physically or emotionally abused; with abuse being the extreme version of invalidation. Either way, each form of invalidation carries its own form of pain and suffering.
When one leads a life of being invalidated, their thoughts, feelings and emotions are unlikely to be expressed very often. And because one has taken on the identity of being invalidated, one may not even be aware of what they are feeling, thinking, emoting or how they are behaving.
So not only will others not find out or hear about these processes, but one may not even allow oneself to hear or listen to them either. This has the potential to create repression and an internal split in the mind and body.
Although this person may have an identity; it is highly unlikely that is represents who they truly are. The identity that they have has probably been given to them by someone else. Or maybe this person knows who they are inside, but out of their fear of being invalidated, they keep it hidden from other people and the world.
The same scenario is likely to be true of their goals and visions for the present moment and of the future.
The Absence of Happiness
If ones whole indentify is based on what is not real or what is true, there is unlikely to be a real sense of happiness within. To this person real happiness could be nothing more than an idea or a word and not as something that has any real significance or relevance.
This person may not even know that the reason they feel unhappy is because on every level of their being they are being invalidated. And just like a fish that has lived in water its whole life and has no concept of what it would be like to live out of water; the individual that has been invalidated rarely has any concept of what it would be like to be validated.
Let’s Take A Moment To Reflect
So as we look at each of these examples, we can see that there is a radical difference between being validated and being invalidated. And that this can be the difference between being happy and successful and being unhappy and unsuccessful.
However, is the person who is validated really any different to the person that is being invalidated? They may look different, feel different and behave differently, but inherently they are the same. What is different is how they perceive themselves and their life.
The person that is being invalidated is unaware that there is another possibility or is aware that there is another way and is beginning to be validated. And the person that it being validated has either been that way from the very beginning or has come to be that way through awareness.
In The Beginning
When we are children our caregivers have the power to either validate us or to invalidate us. And what will go a long way to defining which one of these occur, will be whether the caregivers were made to feel validated or invalidated when they were children. If the caregivers were invalidated as children and have never questioned this, then it is highly likely that they will then go on to
invalidate their children.
And it is what happens during these formative years that one’s ego mind comes to learn as familiar and therefore as safe. So if ones internal processes where invalidated and ones needs and wants as a child were denied; then this child is likely to grow up being completely out of touch.
As an adult the ego mind will only feel safe when it is experiencing life as it did as a child. And if one was invalidated as a child; then this is what one will come to expect and feel safe with as an adult.
This means that if ones feelings, thoughts and emotions were ignored and invalidated as a child; it will cause one to continue to attract people and situations where the same experience is created. And the same will apply to ones wants and needs and their goals and aspirations.
These situations do not reflect who one truly is; all they are doing is reflecting what ones ego mind has come to associate as safe through many years of familiarity.
By questioning and seeing these patterns and associations for what they are, one can come to break through them and create a different way. One can also come to be self validated and this is where it all begins – with the self.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.