We’ve been exploring my favorite formulas for living in recovery, and today’s concept is simple but not easy.
Validation means giving yourself and others the reassurance that what you think and feel is okay. It says that no matter how things turn out, your emotions are valid.
This can be a welcome relief for those recovering from food addiction, who often feel like they are wrong, or that they have to prove themselves or please people.
Validation can take practice, and as you’re doing it for yourself you can teach others as well. A simple hug, or a short phrase like, “Uh-huh,” or, “Wow, I hear you,” goes a long way to help someone feel our acceptance and compassion.
Too many people don’t get this type of validation growing up. We hear about the consequences of our actions, but we receive no validation for our feelings about the situation.
The opposite of validation is minimizing your own or someone else’s feelings, or judging them as wrong. Instead, your self-talk and responses to others should be supportive, non-judgmental, and understanding of what may be behind the feelings.
The power of validation gives you strength to accept your current reality, while being honest about whether you’re willing to change and grow towards more recovery.