Emotions are tricky. Sometimes they are simple, and can be easy to understand. Other times, they seem to appear out of nowhere. When emotions arise, it is important to engage with them. Avoiding emotions is actually invalidating yourself, which leads to more negative emotions. Allowing yourself to feel your emotions validates your feelings, your thoughts, and yourself.
How Do I Validate My Emotions?
The first step in validating any emotion is to feel the emotion. This sounds easier than it is though. As humans, we spend so much time avoiding our emotions because they are inconvenient and get in the way. This mentality is actually invalidating to yourself, because it says that your feelings come second to other things in your life. The first step in learning to validate your emotions and yourself is to believe that you and your emotions are a priority.
Once you accept that your emotions are important, it becomes easier to feel them and validate them. It sounds silly, but the first thing to do is to label the emotion, Sometimes an emotion we would first label as anger is actually sadness. In order to understand this though, we need to engage with the emotion and explore where it comes from and what is feels like.
To label an emotion, it is a good idea to feel the emotion not just in your head and heart, but also in your body. Often emotions come with physiological sensations. These sensations can be anything from a heaviness in the chest to heat in the legs. Learning your personal physical cues that connect to different emotions will help you to understand what is happening in your body and use them as signs to understand your emotions.
Even without an exact label, knowing and telling yourself that whatever you are feeling is OK and safe. Emotions can be overwhelming, but they have more control over you when you avoid them. Knowing that emotions are normal and valid will help to strengthen your mind
Why Should I Validate My Emotions?
Validating your emotions will not only make you feel better in the moment, but also in the future, In telling yourself that your emotions are valid, you are telling yourself that YOU are valid. Though it seems like this is a no brainer, we treat ourselves in ways that are invalidating all the time. Every time your inner narrative calls yourself "stupid" or "dramatic" you are invalidating yourself. This is not only not effective in the moment, but also can place strain on your confidence and relationship with yourself.
When you decide your emotions have a right to be felt, you give yourself the right to experience things.
Some people are more sensitive than others, and this does not make the emotions we may experience as highly sensitive people less valid. Whatever you feel, whenever you feel it, is valid and deserves to be experienced. Taking the time to engage with your emotions will leave you feeling calmer and more confident in yourself.
Remember that emotions exist for a reason, and they are trying to tell you something. So next time you experience an emotion, take the time to sit with it and validate that you have a right to your emotions.
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