“Just like children, emotions heal when they are heard and validated.”
― Jill Bolte Taylor
Have you ever been invalidated? It's the worst feeling when you express yourself and someone snubs your comments. "You don't have any reason to be depressed" "I have always had it worse than that." "You are too sensitive!" "You should leave the past in the past!"
When we are young, parents often invalidate children's feelings because of their own mental health issues, past history of how they were raised, or because they see it as a personal attack. They turn into the often seen character of:
All people ever want is to be heard. You don't have to agree with them, or believe them, but what you have to do is acknowledge their emotions. Using I statements like: " I can see that you are in a lot of pain right now." It can also be helpful to restate what someone is saying, and using reflective listening to show you are paying attention to them. Most of the time, just being there and not saying anything, letting them cry, scream, or just vent is enough.
I was reading an amazing blog from J.S Park whom stated:
"I think there’s an urge to preach advice at hurting people because it feels powerless not to say anything. But tossing advice on an already hurting person is to give them a burden on top of their burden. Out of good intentions, we tend to impart information or theology or logical points to ”fix” them—but when you were wounded, what did you need? More words? A sound argument? I-told-you-so? No. The best gifts I received in these moments were presence and silence. To bear the load together."
We are facing a huge rage currently of emotions, politics, and personal struggles. In what is deemed "cancel culture" or online shaming, we are always in such a hurry to blast our own thoughts and opinions without taking a moment to reflect on treating each other with empathy. Validation is needed more than ever. We can't fix what is happening around us, or each other. But we can take the time to listen, and validate that how each other is feeling is real.