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  • Writer's pictureJustin McLennan

Validation Leads to Self Love

It is no secret that our harshes critic tends to be ourselves. We make judgments about ourselves that can quickly surface emotions that we may categorize as "negative." These "negative" emotions lead us to believe we are "not good enough" and cause us to see what makes us different as flaws. In order to encompass self-love, we must change our viewpoint. We must relabel "flaws" as what makes us unique and feel, "I am more than good enough."

How do we change our viewpoint when our inner critics (our Sidekicks) are being harsh?

By empowering our Superhero to validate our emotions through acceptance and seeing them for what they are, "just feelings," neither negative nor positive. Through validation, we can feel without labeling it "good" or "bad." This ability to become nonjudgmental opens the door to developing strong emotional health and happiness, i.e., self-love.

According to Michael Sorensen, author of "I Hear You," validation is the act of helping someone feel heard and understood and has two main elements. First, it acknowledges a specific emotion. Second, it offers justification for feeling that emotion. By validating yourself before your Sidekick throws out their judgments, you can provide yourself the chance to be receptive to the feedback you may have for yourself. Let us look at an example.


Your test grade came back, and you are not happy with the score.

No Validation - Sidekick:

  • "You are never going to pass this class."

  • "You always score low."

  • "You constantly let them down."

It is no wonder we have trouble loving ourselves with this harsh internal dialogue. Now let us look at the same scenario but utilizing validation.

Yes, Validation - Superhero:

  • "I hear you. I get you are feeling frustrated, and that is okay. Would you like my opinion?"

By taking this approach of providing yourself validation, you will allow yourself to view your experience better. A perspective that allows you to love yourself because you are no longer judging; you are creating a healthy environment for positive outcomes.

Five tips shared in "I Hear You" to help master the validation skill:

  1. Validation comes before offering advice or assurance.

  2. Lead with "I" instead of "You." I.e., "I get why you feel that way" versus "You are right."

  3. When you feel an emotion, check-in with yourself to identify if you are suppressing, avoiding, or accepting it.

  4. Avoid absolutes, "always," "never," and "constantly." Use "often" and "rarely."

  5. Use "and" instead of "but." I.e., "I hear you, and that may just be how is he acts" versus "I hear you, but that may just be how he acts."

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