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7.17.2012

DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?



If you're not like me, if you don't think these thoughts,
 then I'm not normal. Please tell me I'm normal!

If that's not a need for validation statement I don't know what is. It's true though.

Deep at the heart of all of us is the need to be validated. It's why we crave love. It's why we seek attention. It's why we seek power. It's why we seek success. It's why we want riches. It's why we sometimes cross boundaries.

My husband recently commented about someone in my world that loves to talk to me. My response to him was, "Yeah she does. I validate the hell out of her. Who doesn't want that.”  It's one of the reasons that people feel comfortable with me. I leave them with that feel good validated kind of feeling.

It's the thing that a kid seeks from those around them. Love is a form of validation. Encouragement is a vehicle of validation as well. That validation gives us our footing, some of our confidence, an invincibleness. Validation is a bit like a mile marker on a highway; it helps us know we are ok, moving in the right direction.

Some years back someone asked me why I said, do you know what I mean, all the time, especially when I was explaining something or teaching a class. I had to think through why I did that. It dawned on me. It was a form of wanting validation that people were connecting to what I was saying. I didn't want to needlessly say things that no one tracked on. Their feedback validated what I was saying was meaning something to the listener; that there was not just comprehension but understanding as well.

That too is part of why we go to counselors. I like to say that it helps to set our crazy loose. What I mean by that is, if we say our thoughts out loud we find that we aren't really crazy after all. What we think and feel is pretty universal. Most of the time. Yes, counselors help us order our thoughts and feelings. They give us tools to change ingrained patterns of thoughts or reactions. But mostly they validate that our "crazy" is really somewhat normal. That is one of the deepest cravings we have in life.

Unfortunately there are adults functioning at less than whole because they are still seeking validation from a parent(s). It's tough to want that validation from parents and not get it. It can be a lonely road. That's when we have to find other avenues to get that validation. We have to develop a pseudo-family of sorts, a support system from people who can willingly and freely give us the deepest longing we have - validation.

We love when we say something to someone and they "get it", not just verbally, but they feel what we feel, have experienced it, thought it, done the same thing, reacted similarly in similar circumstances. Empathy is a great validator.

Do you know what I mean?

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