Emotions are not inherently dangerous. So why do we avoid them, push them down, or deny that we have them? Why do many of us steer the conversation in another direction as soon as we see that someone else is feeling emotion?
One big reason for this is that we are not comfortable with our own emotions because we have not been validated enough.
So let’s dive into Validation.
Validation is a reflective interpersonal skill where one person acknowledges the feelings and thoughts that another person has experienced. Validation helps us let go of the emotional intensity associated with any experience big or small. So it’s super important.
When we can let go of high emotional intensity we can return to our rational, congruent and productive selves, blending emotions with rationality in just the right way. When we can let go of high emotional intensity, we can become our best selves.
Validation is what happens when other people listen to our experiences and show that they recognize the emotions associated with that experience. Validation is the compassionate voice that says, “Wow that sounds really stressful,” or “I see that was hard on you.”
Validation is so important because it allows us to exhale, to let go of some of the stress of the situation and regain our ability to think clearly, to process clearly and focus and work.
It allows our bodies to return to a regulated state. It allows the parasympathetic nervous system to do its job, allowing our hearts to beat calmly, breath to flow smoothly, and sends blood to the internal organs so we can digest fully! Importantly, validation allows us to breathe deeply which then stimulates the vagus nerve, then allowing for the relaxation response, an internal feeling of safety. Validation helps us feel safe.
Validation, whether from others or from ourselves is a skill of emotional intelligence. Someone who can validate is aware and responsive to emotions and has the courage to be fully present with an emotional truth.
And now is a great time to be super-validators.
Instead of running away from emotions, now is a great time to listen to others’ emotions, to allow space for their emotions, and also acknowledge your own emotions.
If you are a manager, this is a good time to listen to your employees: be present with them in a still and caring way and reflect back your understanding of their words.
And It’s a time to be kind to yourself: to allow yourself to let go of some of that tension in your shoulders, to allow yourself to create a routine that includes meditation (finally!), to spend more time with friends and family, AND to allow yourself to say kind words to yourself!
All of us need validation. In fact we need supercharged validation, a soft place to feel and “let go.” Only then can we transition back to our rational, productive selves. Our best selves.
And in the workplace, this is what we want. An emotionally regulated and emotionally supported employee is your most successful employee.
For more information on emotional intelligence in the workplace, or to learn how to be a better listener, please see our upcoming events and groups or contact us for a free 30-min consultation.
For more information on upcoming events and groups, including “Creating Conscious Culture in the New Workplace of 2021,” “Self-Healing for Wellness Group,” and “Conscious Community of Leaders Group,” please visit our events page.