What is emotional validation and how to take advantage of it?
The emotional validation is a process of learning, understanding and expression of acceptance of the emotional experience of another individual or self ( emotional self – validation ). The opposite of emotional validation is “emotional invalidation,” which refers to the rejection, ignorance, or judgment of another person’s emotional experience.
Emotion validation improves interpersonal relationships since the other person feels understood, recognized, and favors an increase in the verbalization of what the other thinks and feels, since he or she feels heard. This causes an increase in trust between the two of you and lays the foundation for creating a good relationship.
Acceptance, empathy and expression of emotional validation
The acceptance is an option that is presented to resolving conflicts, especially in interpersonal relationships. As part of this, emotional validation is a way of communicating acceptance to others (or to ourselves), but it does not mean that we agree or share the thoughts of the other person. Validating is accepting and validating what another person is feeling, whether or not we agree with their point of view or their feelings. Therefore, emotional validation is empathy and acceptance towards another individual.
On the other hand, although it is common to judge or criticize what other people think if we do not agree with them, on many occasions we do not show that we disagree. This is not emotional validation, as emotional validation offers opportunities for emotional expression. Validation is not only accepting emotions, but this acceptance must be communicated to the other person.
Tips to improve emotional validation
Learning to validate emotions correctly can take practice. Validating an emotion consists of making explicit the emotion that we think the person has (for example, does this make you feel…? ) And implies that the other person feels understood, valued and accepted. Here are some tips to improve emotional validation.
1. Be present
There are many ways to be present, but in the world we live in, we are not always present. Being in mindfulness (or mindfulness) is the first step to emotional validation. Some strategies to achieve this are: hold the hand of the person who is speaking to us and pay attention to what they say, or use active listening. Mindfulness training can be helpful in learning to be in the present moment.
2. Listen and reflect
The objective reflection refers to conduct an objective summary of what the other person has told you. But not just any summary is valid, but after active listening (paying attention to your reactions and emotions), reflection allows you to learn and understand more deeply when viewing situations from different lenses. Challenging questions will even help you question your own beliefs about the world. But to carry out an objective reflection, it is necessary to have knowledge about Emotional Intelligence, since it can help you understand, label and regulate emotions, and separate the latter from thoughts and cultural impositions.
3. Understand other people’s reaction
On many occasions we let ourselves be carried away by the intensity of our emotions and we do not stop to think about the cause in the reaction of other people. It is essential to understand what the other may be feeling or thinking. Each individual’s skill in emotional intelligence is different, but it can be learned. Although we cannot read minds, we can try to find out what has led the other person to act that way. To understand someone else’s reaction, you can encourage them to speak through carefully selected questions and expressions that let them know that you understand how they feel and that you are willing to listen to them talk about it. For example, “I think you were offended by the comment I just made.”
4. Understand the situation
It is important to have knowledge about the culture and context of the other. Therefore, reading emotions implies that with few elements you can formulate a hypothesis about your emotional reaction. This hypothesis must be communicated to the other person so that he can express whether we are right. For example, with a person who has been bitten by a dog, we could say “because of what happened to you with a dog a few years ago, I understand that you do not want my dog to come near you.”
5. Normalize emotions
Understanding emotional reactions as normal helps everyone. For an emotionally sensitive person, knowing that most people can feel the same way in the same situation is beneficial. For example, “I understand that you may be anxious or nervous. Speaking to the public can be a difficult situation the first time. “
6. Have an open mind to the emotional experience of the other
Acceptance and an open mind towards the emotional experience of the other will be positive for any interpersonal relationship. Regardless of the emotion the other person is feeling, it is their emotion and must be respected. It is important to make room for all emotions, since they all have a meaning.