Validation is a key element in strengthening relationships. Validation says: ‘I see you. You matter’. In a world where we are constantly chasing happiness or success, we forget to pause for a moment to appreciate what we have in the here-and-now. Have you ever considered the benefits of giving thanks or validating yourself/someone else? Have you noticed that saying ‘You matter’ or being grateful for something whether big or small makes you feel good and has the same effect on the other end?
Dr. Robert A. Emmons from the University of California and Dr. Michael E. McCullough from the University of Miami conducted research on the effect ‘saying thank you’ had on people. Results from this study indicated that saying ‘thank you’ promotes self-confidence and makes for happier people. When people feel that they are appreciated, they work harder in the workplace but also in their personal life. It is remarkable that they noticed that when people are being thankful which in essence is being grateful, they are more focused on what they have, instead of what they are lacking in their lives.
From a neurological perspective, the hormone that is being secreted that is responsible for this happy state is called oxytocin. It is released when you do something for someone or when you are at the receiving end of feeling validated. In short, we are happier and have improved relationships when we validate ourselves and others.
Whether you want to start validating yourself or validating others, here are some pointers:
You can start by keeping a journal or keeping mental notes of things you are proud of, things that matter to you, that you are thankful for. Go back to this list when you feel low and need a boost of validation.
If you feel shy, you can leave a post-it note giving validation to someone.
If you would like to start somewhere but feel lost in expressing validation, you can use these examples as a starting point:
You effort and time in helping me analyze these numbers are really valuable to me.
I appreciate you kindness.
Thank you for leaving the note on my desk after I helped you with the project.
I see you are hurt. I am sorry you feel hurt. I am here to support you.
The more you practice this technique, the easier it becomes. Validation matters. To feel seen matters. To feel understood matters. To feel important to those you love matters. It matters to you and everyone around you. So jump on the validation train and feel the positive effect it has on you and those around you!
written by Driana Zandberg, Social Worker.