Dear Soft Hearted Loves,
My dear sweet one, do you find yourself loving on others only to forget to validate yourself? Do you find yourself Pollyanna-ing and being super positive only to bypass your own feelings? Stuffing our feelings or engaging in toxic positivity may have once done the job. If these ways no longer serve you you’ll find three tips on how to validate your own experiences.
- Write it out. Move it out. Whatever you do please just get it out no matter how embarrassing it is or how much you wish you didn’t feel that anger, jealousy, or resentment. If you’re not sure what “it” is that’s totally understandable too. Get it out one on one without giving it or dumping it on someone. Don Miguel Ruiz talks about how we can be sure to not spew our emotional poison on to others if we take a beat and check in with ourselves.
- Talk to your inner child. Take a few deep breaths and ground yourself in your wisest, kindest place. If you feel safe and grounded you can go back to a time when you were younger and maybe went through something similar. For example, if you’re angry with a boss you may be able to trace this back to a moment of feeling fear of abandonment when you were younger. Go back to that memory and give little you what she needed back then (a shoulder to cry on, an affectionate hug, or just someone to listen, tell her she understands, and tell her she’s a good girl). Reach out to me for a deeper dive into this sort of work utilizing internal family systems (IFS).
- Talk with a super trustworthy person about it. Tell your best friend, sister, or mentor. Tell someone who won’t shame you or elicit toxic positivity. Once you’ve acknowledged what you’re feeling and given yourself and your inner parts validation it can be helpful to share it with a trusted person. You can ask them for what you need too. For example if you want them to just listen or prefer they brainstorm solutions be sure to ask them for the type of listening you need.
I’m proud of you for exploring a new way of emotional expression. We don’t have to hold it in, let it boil within, or release emotional poison onto others. We also no longer have to stuff and numb ourselves. There’s another way to hear ourselves out that feels honoring and authentic.
3 thoughts on “How to Validate Your Experiences”
Thank you for writing this, Dr. J. How can we get the people around us to not be offended when we gently express that toxic positiviety is hurtful to us?
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Thank you for this really thought provoking question. I also appreciate that you gently express that the toxic positive thing is hurtful to you. It is not uncommon for it to sting folks when they find out that something they are doing is hurting us. For example, if I’m trying to help my partner or coworker and find out that it’s hurtful to them I may sting a bit. I’d then have to go see what’s coming up for me.
Sometimes when we share that toxic positivity is hurtful to us we can validate their efforts (1), relate (2), and then give some examples here to help out (3).
1) For example, I might tell someone that I validate that they’re trying to help and I love how they care.
2) I’d then relate by saying I know when I tried to help my coworker with a task and it made her feel I was criticizing her work I was blown away so I totally get how this could be surprising or even hurtful to you.
3) An example of when someone was so positive that it was toxic was when I told them about a ticket I got and they said at least it wasn’t an accident because they didn’t know I don’t have money for rent and they squashed my financial fears with their efforts to be happy and look on the bright side.
Toxic positivity is a topic I may write about in a blog next week. Thanks for the question as this topic is pretty complex.
Thank you for providing some examples that I can use with people in my life! I am looking forward to reading more from you on this topic.