People may have strong emotional responses to events that seem minor to outside observers . As a result, people who feel emotions that others do not understand experience emotional invalidation as others react to their emotions as if they are not valid or reasonable.
It is necessary that for people to feel closer to others, the emotions they feel are validated. Emotional invalidation, in addition to alienating people, can also create feelings of resentment.
Emotional validation is the process of learning, understanding, and expressing acceptance of another person’s emotional experience. Emotional validation is distinguished from emotional invalidation, in which the emotional experiences of another person are rejected, ignored or judged.
One of the keys to learning to validate the emotions of others is to realize that validating an emotion does not mean that you agree with the other person, or that you think their emotional response is justified. Rather, you communicate that you understand what they are feeling, without trying to dissuade or embarrass them about the feeling.
How is an emotion validated?
First, identify and recognize the emotion
When you validate an emotional response, the first step is to acknowledge the emotion the other person is feeling. This can be difficult if the other person hasn’t clearly communicated their feelings, so you may have to ask them how they feel, or guess and then ask them if you’re right.
Imagine that your partner is angry with you. You come home and he behaves angrily but he does not tell you what is wrong, nor do you know what the reason for that feeling is. If your partner has already told you that they are angry, you can acknowledge that you understand that they are angry … but if they have not communicated it, you could say something like: ‘It seems that you are angry, what is happening to make you feel that way ? ‘.
Second, recognize the source of the emotion
The next step is to identify the situation or signal that triggered the emotion. You will need to ask the person directly what is causing the emotional response. For example, you can ask something like, ‘What is it that makes you feel this way?’
Perhaps your partner does not feel able to communicate clearly what is happening to him. It is even possible that he / she does not even understand what is happening to him / her. Or simply, he is not able to speak to talk about his emotions. In this case, you may just have to acknowledge that something seems to be bothering him and that you would like to know what is going on, but that it is difficult to do so without a clear idea of the situation.
Third, validate the emotion
Continuing with the example of the angry partner (but that this can happen to any loved one), they may tell you what it is that has made them angry, such as what. You are 15 minutes late home from work and you have not notified before. Perhaps for you it is very unjustified that he gets angry about something like that, but still, you can validate his feelings even if you do not agree with his emotions. You can tell him that you accept how he feels like this: ‘I know you feel angry because I got home late, I didn’t mean to bother you, there was traffic and I couldn’t warn you.’
In this case, you would not need to apologize for your behavior because you have done nothing wrong. But by acknowledging the other person’s feelings , the tense situation may be greatly lessened.
Validating is not giving up
Validating someone’s emotions does not mean that you resign yourself to being treated badly. If your loved one is behaving inappropriately or aggressively , you should remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible. Tell them that you want to talk to him / her about the situation but that you will not do so, you must be calm.
Validating the emotion does not mean that it goes away or disappears. It is not your job to make the emotion of another disappear, you can recognize and validate the emotions so that the other person feels understood and respected, but it will be the other person who must regulate their own emotions .