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How to Self-Validate by Jade Caswell, MA

Validation from others is something we all seek, however, sometimes we forget that it is

important to validate ourselves, and our own feelings as well. If we struggle with low self-

esteem, we may obsess over being validated by others, or constantly seek approval from others

around us-- including parents, friends, partners or bosses. In the absence of external self-

validation, we may question our own value. Additionally, if we didn't have caregivers validating

our feelings growing up, we may struggle to understand how to give ourselves this validation

now that we are adults or may continue to invalidate our own feelings.

By definition, self-validation means accepting your own thoughts and feelings without

judgement. To self-validate, we do not have to believe that our thoughts or feelings are justified,

but we do need to acknowledge they are there and accept them just as they are. Denying or

fighting against these thoughts and feelings can intensify emotional suffering. Self-validation can

also be a tool for managing our emotions, as we may become more able to identify our feelings,

strengthen our emotional connection with ourselves, and soothe ourselves in times of emotional

distress. Listed below are a few simple steps to practice self-validation in our own lives.

1. Become Mindful of Thoughts and Feelings. The first step towards practicing self-validation

is to be mindful of our own thoughts and feelings, and mindfully observe these. It is important

not to judge or try to push away these emotions, but accept that you are experiencing them in the

moment. You may realize the thoughts you are having are irrational, however, validate that they

exist and are powerful in the moment. Try to fully experience these feelings that may come up,

and locate them in the body, if possible.

2. Practice Self-Validating Statements. After acknowledging and mindfully accepting our

emotions, it can be helpful to practice self-validating statements that affirm our own worth.

Below are examples of some statements:

 It’s normal to feel this way.

 My feelings are valid.

 This is hard. What do I need to cope or feel better?

 It’s okay to cry.

 I’m making progress.

 I gave it my best effort.

 I’m more than my accomplishments or failures.

 My self-worth isn’t based on other people’s opinions.

 My feelings matter and I will listen to what they’re telling me.

3. Normalize Feelings. It is important to understand that everyone may become upset, sad, or

anxious sometimes. Emotional reactions are a natural part of life, and attempting to suppress or

trying to not feel emotions may do more harm than accepting emotions as a part of life, and

normalizing our own emotional experiences. Put simply, it can be more beneficial to acknowledge our feelings, accept them, and allow them to be there rather than pushing them

away or invalidating ourselves.

By Jade Caswell, MA, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern


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