This week’s word is…VALIDATION

There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

Validation-large
Definition of Validation: Finding the truth of something; authenticating something or someone; acknowledgment, recognition and acceptance of another person’s internal experience.

Validation is that warm feeling of being understood and accepted. Our children desperately need our validation. They need to know that who they are is ok (even when what they’re doing may not be ok).

We are living within a dangerous paradigm which I call the Lie of Scarcity. The lie of “I am not enough” – not smart enough, good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, strong enough… – has led to a culture of shame and fear. (To hear ALL ABOUT scarcity, and it’s anticdote sufficiency, be sure to come to one of our retreats). I believe that through a genuine practice of validating our children, we will shift this paradigm into the future.

To be clear, validation is not agreement. When I validate someone, it does not mean I am agreeing with what he or she did or said. I am validating the person, not the content of the conversation or situation. Literally saying, “I hear you.” or “I’m listening. Is there more?” sends a powerful message and lets them know that he or she matters to you, that you’re paying attention and that you care about their experience of the situation. And we can do this, even when we DON’T agree with the person’s viewpoint or behavior. Receiving our validation has greater impact on our children and our relationship with them than getting our agreement.

Here’s an interesting idea to close with: YOU desperately need YOUR validation too. Try action item #1 below. Self-Validation is an important habit to cultivate, and directly correlates to our capacity to validate others.

Validation in Action:

  1. Each day this week, give yourself the gift of validation. When you’re feeling frustrated, happy, disappointed, sad, etc., validate your experience. Tell yourself, “I hear you, De [insert your own first name]. I hear that you are ___________[insert feeling].” Resist all urge to fix anything. Whatever you are experiencing is true for you in that moment. Simply be there for yourself and offer your validation.
  2. Choose at least one conversation each day, with your child or significant other. Practice your presence and validation. Say, “I hear you. Tell me more.” Reflect what you see in them, “You sound excited!” “I sense some frustration. Am I hearing you accurately?”
  3. Most importantly breathe, slow down, focus fully on the person (yourself included), and listen.

Scripture Verse:

“Dear brothers, don’t ever forget that it is best to listen much, speak little…” James 1:19

Click on the picture below to download a 2″x3″ Reminder Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc.
Validation Card
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