We hope everyone is well. During our current situation of uncertain, ever-changing challenging times, emotions may be rising in our homes with most families staying home together with limited outlets. Our routines have been disrupted and we may be experiencing a variety of emotions we are not used to. It is important to check in with one another to actively connect with those feelings. Hopefully, we are able to share our feelings openly with another and gain an understanding of them. This is not always happening in our interactions with others; Young children may not have a label for their feelings whether it is worry, fear, sadness, anger, confusion, or any other uncomfortable feeling. Now is a good time to put a label on those feelings and practice, with each other, the art of validation – a life skill for building relationships.
Validation is an important piece of communication and by definition, recognizes or affirms that a person or their feelings or opinions make sense and are worthwhile.When we validate a person’s feelings or emotions, there are 3 stages:
- actively listen to and accept the information from the person,
- understand at the time of the situation (we may have to take a moment to process the information) and lastly…
- nurture in a non-judgmental way.
Sounds easy? It’s actually harder than it sounds; however, with careful practice validation can increase better communication and connections within our relationships. Research indicates that parental validation is associated with improvements to emotional regulation in adolescents/teens (any child’s emotional regulation really) and greater happiness in the parent-child relationship. Imagine what validation could do in our other relationships… work, recreation, etc. The attached photo shares some phrases to validate another.
Feelings and emotions are normal for everyone – we must learn how to manage them by being able to label them. Perhaps we have been feeling unsure of the next steps in our lives; talking to someone helps us put a label on the feeling or emotion and can help if they are understood and validated. When we continue to ignore our feelings our stress response increases which leads to bigger problems and we will explore the stress response another time.
If anyone is feeling overwhelmed and struggling, please connect with the Distress Centre by phone at 403-266-HELP(4357) or online at www.distresscentre.com.