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4 Steps To Emotional Validation

If you follow a bunch of life coaches on Instagram and other social media, you are probably constantly bombarded with posts of the “good vibes only” variety. While these “influencers” mean well, it is extremely annoying. The fact that a lot of my friends are convinced of this adds to the frustration because this mindset can lead to toxic positivity, a belief that you have to maintain your positive way of thinking even in situations where it’s not appropriate. 

Although studies have demonstrated time and time again that the power of positive thinking can change your life, there is a much better approach in the form of emotional validation. 

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What Is Emotional Validation?

Emotional validation involves recognizing that there are times in our lives when we go through difficulties, and that the negative feelings that these experiences generate are real and often important. In essence, it is the opposite of toxic positivity, which seeks to deny the reality of each individual’s lived experience. Feeling angry or sad is fully appropriate in some situations, but with toxic positivity, these natural emotions are discounted. To be clear, this isn’t to suggest emotional validation encourages or promotes the idea that having constant negative thoughts is healthy. Rather, it takes a compassionate approach. 

When looking through the lens of emotional validation, we begin to understand that when we do experience negative feelings, it is only temporary. The death of a loved one, the disappointment of not getting an A in a class, or getting into a fender bender aren’t occasions where one looks at the bright side of life. We eventually come to terms with the situation and accept it. However, according to this train of thought, there is no time table; we will move on only when we are emotionally ready.