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The Power of Validation

 

Our world has become one of forced happiness. It has become natural to listen to respond, to try to cheer someone up when they are sad, to push away everything negative, and to brighten any mood with jokes and funny stories. When something bad happens, we, as a society, do not want to deal with it, we want it to go away. 

Therefore, when someone is sad, mad, or simply having a bad day, the immediate response it to search for a solution, to try to ‘fix’ whatever has been broken, and paint a smile back on their face. On approach is to try to distract the individual with jokes or fun activities. Another is to remind them of all of the wonderful things in their life. Finally, sometimes telling sad stories to try to make their life seem better works. The strategy often misplaced, however, is saying, “That’s a lot, I’m sorry. Your feelings are valid.” 

 In a world that is constantly seeking gratification, the quick fix is often considered as the only option. It is easier to tell someone to change their mood than to help them embrace it, easier to take medicine, than to push through the pain. Just because it is easier, though, does not mean it is the better choice. Although it is easy to try to fix the person who comes to you upset, you are doing them a disservice. While it may seem as though making them smile is helping them, the temporary satisfaction that smile gives is nothing in comparison to learning that it is okay to feel the way they do.

 Emotions are a natural part of life that we often try to dismiss. Our emotions, though, act as messengers, and if we listen to them, they will tell us about the things going on in our lives. Sometimes things happen and we do not know that they cause a feeling within our bodies, but they do and if we are able to identify that emotion, we can learn from it. In this way, negative emotions are just as positive as any other emotion. In our society, it is easy to want for happiness, but sometimes it is much healthier to validate the lack of happiness instead.

Even if you have a ‘perfect’ life, a ‘perfect’ job, a ‘perfect’ everything, if you feel as though you have no reason to feel unhappy or to complain, your emotions are valid, you have a reason to feel the way that you do, and it is okay. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and for others is to validate emotions. The whole world is telling us to be happy and wipe that frown off of our faces, but there is a power in feeling all emotions and we had reason to feel them. You do not have to live a horrific life full of abuse and adversity to feel sad or mad or confused, emotions come at different times for everyone and they are valid.

 

By Hayley Seely

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