4 Tips for Practicing Self-Validation

December 3, 2020

Many of us may struggle with self-doubt or imposter syndrome from time to time. Because of this, we may also find it hard sometimes to validate ourselves. We might know how to validate others well, by expressing understanding and acceptance of other people’s experiences. But when it comes to our own self-validation, it’s not always as easy to be on our own side. In this blog post, we will cover what self-validation is, explain the importance of it and provide tips of 4 for practicing self-validation.

What is Self-Validation?

According to Psychology Today, self-validation is the act of accepting our own internal experience, including our thoughts and feelings. Self validation could include us:

  • Encouraging ourselves
  • Acknowledging our strengths and efforts
  • Noticing and accepting our feelings
  • Prioritizing our needs
  • Treating ourselves with kindness
  • Saying nice things to ourselves
  • Accepting our limitations or mistakes

Why is Validating Ourselves Important?

Validating ourselves is important because it is a way for us to accept and better understand ourselves. By receiving our feelings and thoughts, good or bad, we are giving ourselves grace and allowing ourselves to be our truest selves. Self-validation can then lead us to have a stronger identity and to better manage the range of emotions we feel.

Tips for Practicing Self-Validation

Be Present

Self-validation goes hand in hand with mindfulness. We have to be mindful of the thoughts we’re having and the feelings we’re feeling in order to validate our internal experience. Practicing mindfulness can be a great way to slow down and validate ourselves. Reflect in the present moment by quietly observing and describing your thoughts to yourself. When we are truly in the present and attentive to our immediate surroundings, we can begin to notice how we feel and what we need from ourselves. 

Engage in Honest Reflection

Make sure to give yourself an accurate reflection of your feelings by acknowledging your current internal state and labeling it accurately. This means accepting your feelings and needs without judgement. When reflecting on our past feelings and behaviors, validating ourselves doesn’t necessarily mean that we always approve or agree with the things we’ve done in the past. There are other factors from our past experiences that may trigger us to feel or react a certain way.

As an example, perhaps you’ve been outwardly angry towards someone you cared about in an upsetting situation and have a difficult time validating yourself for that behavior. However, being honest about how you felt at the time doesn’t mean you’re a “bad person” for reacting that way. Validating ourselves doesn’t doesn’t necessarily mean that we approve or agree on the things we have done in the past. It just means that whatever happened was simply how we felt at the time and we reacted as best as we could based on what we knew then

Use Your History To Self-Validate

We may struggle with self-validation because we have trouble believing in ourselves or what we’re capable of achieving. However, we can reflect on the past instances of where we did something similar and succeeded as a reminder of all that we’re capable of. You could even try writing out your successes to remember them when you’re feeling doubtful or may be struggling to validate yourself in the future. 

Normalize Your Behavior

Having a range of emotions is what makes us human. It’s okay to have negative reactions at times because we don’t naturally always feel fine about everything. Even if we’re having uncomfortable or upsetting feelings, thoughts or behaviors, we can normalize those experiences by acknowledging it and validating it. Practice accepting the diverse range of emotions that are part of your human experience.

It takes practice to learn to validate ourselves and be accepting of all of our feelings and thoughts. It’s not always easy to do, especially if you have previously suppressed your feelings or put yourself down for feeling a certain way. However, the more we are able to validate ourselves, like we validate others, the more kind we will be to ourselves and able to welcome our range of emotions. 

Still not sure how to get started? Mindful has some great simple and short mindfulness exercises. Try this meditation that focuses on cultivating compassion for our self-critical voices and practicing self-validation.

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