Thursday, May 30, 2013

What is Validation and Why Do You Need It?

Just like children, emotions heal when they are heard and validated. Jill Bolte Taylor

I've been reading quotes on validation, and almost all of them imply that validating a person means approval, and praise. I don't agree. Oprah Winfrey described it as I have always perceived it. She said, I've talked with 30,000 people on this show, and they all wanted validation. Everybody wants to know, "Do you see me? do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything?" And I would add, Do "I" mean anything?

Next to being loved, we need to know we're acknowledged as being of some value in the outer world with others--that we belong. This is an inherent need. But it's also important to validate ourself within, and know we have value before this is acknowledged in the outer.

Inner validation is something I've struggled with my whole life. When I was a child, I looked outside of myself for validation, but I wasn't heard. In fact, I was forbidden to express any problems, opinions, or any negative feelings about anything. Only positive statements were accepted. Therefore I was invalidated, and I felt invisible. There was always that voice inside that said, "No one sees or hears you, so you don't matter." Maybe this type of inner struggle is why so many people desperately need outside validation. But we must learn to first find it inside in spite of outward appearances.

Now looking back on my childhood, I value those years of depression and loneliness, because they led me to a career as a psychotherapist in the mental health field where I could help others understand their pain and work through it to a sense of validation. Then when I retired, I began writing a self-help blog to continue this mission. However, every week I write something that I think might help someone, but since I rarely get comments, I have no idea if anyone is reading it. Am I just spinning my wheels going nowhere? Should I stop blogging and find another way to express? Or should I keep blogging even though no one is reading or benefiting from my messages? Perhaps the lack of response is there to help me learn inner validation. Maybe we all need times like this to wake us up to move forward. We can know this in our mind, but we need to know it in our heart.

When you feel that need inside to be validated, to know that you count for something in this world, please know that you do count. God only made one like you. You are unique with your own unique gifts. And that makes you special. And validated.

I wish you much inner and outer validation and a happy heart.



  1. An excellent post, especially like the part about valuing the years of depression and realizing that in the end they are for the best. How much better off we would be if we could hold that though as we are in the throes of it! thank you for your encouraging words!

  2. Perhaps the above comment was the answer you were looking for. Do you think we are born needing to be seen/validated? By inherent do you mean like food, and water?
    You've got me thinking, which comes first the inside love or the outside? How can a little baby love itself? Doesn't (s)he have to mimic this, like eating with a spoon?
    Hmmm, good thoughts to ponder.
    Thanks Marilyn.

  3. Thanks, Anonymous and Mary.
    I believe a child needs to be loved and validated by others (parents, etc) in their young world. If this is done, the love and validation of self will come naturally. If the child has not been given these gifts, it can still be found later within. But probably very difficult. Children believe what they are taught to believe.

    I needed your comments, and I thank you from my heart.

  4. This started an interesting dinnertime conversation.

  5. For me, it kind of goes like this. I was validated when God created me, but as a child I didn't know it. If my caretakers had validated me from the outside, I would have become aware within that I was validated. Then as I journeyed through life, I would have known my validation from within before it then came from the outside. So the key is for every child to get the love and validation they need during their growing years. Too bad so many don't.
    Does that make any sense?