How Does Practicing Self-Validation Heal One’s Self-Worth and Self-Image?
Practicing self-validation. What is self-validation, and why is it an important aspect of self-care and respect? Do we need validation to feel fulfilled and confident in our lives? Exploring validation allows us to feel we are supported and confident we can accept our feelings. Before understanding self-validation, it’s important to gain insight on what validation is and how it works.
According to Meriman-Webster, validation is defined as “recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings are valid and are worthwhile.” In the definition, there are several key words indicated—recognition, affirmation, valid and worthwhile. These demonstrate how validation works and why it’s important.
According to PsychCentral, benefits of validation include:
- Feeling heard
- Emotional regulation
- Affirm’s someone personal importance
- Communication building
Putting this in the context of self-validation then related to the ideas mentioned in the definition as it is healing; however, it’s produced from within. The definition of self-validation would mean someone sees their own worth and therefore acknowledges their feelings, ideas and beliefs as valid. Putting this in perspective, let’s say someone experiences a painful event like being cheated on. They may confront their spouse or partner about the incident. At this point, they have gained enough confidence to speak up and tell them how it has impacted them.
The partner or spouse may undermine or gaslight the person by minimizing their experience. For example, they can say things like “It’s normal,” or “Don’t overreact.” They may even attempt to justify their behavior with blame or playing the victim. If someone validates themselves in this experience, they are able to stand up for themselves and protect their self-worth. Someone may decide to leave the relationship as they realize they deserve better. Their ability to recognize their self- worth and self-trust creates the momentum they need to leave and find better.
How Are Self-Validation and Self-Worth Related?
Self-validation is an empowering act that allows someone to support their emotional and mental state. During self-validating experiences, someone is building their confidence, self-esteem and self-love with self-affirming ideas.Someone is able to look within and know they are worthy of self-support and acknowledgement.
Much of self-validation can start in the mind, with mindfulness and the practicing of these types of thoughts. In other words, a person who practices self-validating statements may think or say the following:
- I have a right to feel the way I do.
- I know what I experienced, even if others disagree.
- I accept how I feel, and my flaws. Nobody is perfect.
It is challenging to have low self-worth yet validate yourself. Furthermore, self-validation also includes having healthy self-esteem and self-trust. Someone with low self-worth may not feel they are important enough to be considered or supported, even if it’s by themselves. Additionally. someone with low self-worth would not have the confidence to support their own feelings, insights, intuition or experiences as they may second guess or have self-doubt. Thus, self-validation is missing as someone’s sense of self-value is lowered.
Moreover, their low self-worth (which is another way of saying their value or self-estimation is low) may also emerge as they overthink or put themselves down. They may have a strong inner critic who discourages them from speaking up for themselves or standing up to a bully. Additionally they may even self-gaslight, which erodes their ability to trust their perceptions. These self-invalidating thoughts may include, but are not limited to:
- I never know what to do in challenges
- I am hopeless
- Maybe I am wrong and am overthinking this
- I may be being paranoid
- I cannot trust myself. I have made mistakes before and am unsure
- I should ask someone what they think instead of believing my own ideas
The Effects of a Lack of Self-Validation and Low Self-Love
It’s clear someone’s inability to see their value shows up in their thoughts,words, habits, beliefs and behaviors. Not only do they develop poor self-belief and a distorted self-image with thought patterns, but they can also sabotage love or financial opportunities. Their self-image is distorted, and this reflects a lack of self love. As a result., an individual can shy away from challenges, growth experiences and stay stagnant in dead-end jobs or toxic relationships.
Additional signs of low self-worth or self-esteem that impact someone’s life, according to VeryWellHealth.com includes:
- Poor boundaries
- Lack of self-trust
- Comparing self to others/feeling inferior
- Trouble accepting compliments
- Poor self-talk
A lack of self love or self-esteem mimic signs of self-invalidation as they are all connected.
Sometimes, self-invalidation can come from childhood trauma. Someone growing up with parents who are critical or invalidating can teach someone how to become that way in adulthood. Thus, getting therapy, prayer and meditation or building self-esteem with self-validating practices can be helpful.
Someone can increase their self-validation, self-esteem and self-worth by using therapy tools like Dialectical Behavior Therapy led by a professional In this practice, the professional may employ 4 types of self-validating exercises. This can help someone improve their self image as they validate themselves. These tools specific to DBT are:
- Acknowledging what one feels
- Allowing them to happen
- Understanding one’s feelings
- Develop emotional strength
cknowledging emotions allows someone to identify what they feel. Journaling or identifying them can be helpful.Next, allowing them to happen creates a safe space within the person to just be with their emotions. Giving one’s self permission to feel can be powerful..Lastly, developing emotional strength provides someone the needed confidence to better face challenges in the future. These all improve someone’s relationship with themselves as well as their self-love.
How to Shape a Healthy Self-Concept and Self-Image
It is normal to question one’s potential or capabilities in life. However, it is our responsibility to improve our self-concept and self-image. There are more tools that define and instruct people on how they can do so. First, it’s vital to understand the 4 elements of self-esteem. These are:
A positive self-concept can be shaped by seeing the best in one’s self. Examine core strengths that makes each person unique to heighten awareness of this. Self-meaning answers questions like, ”Who am I”? “How do I add value to those around me? ”What purpose am I here for?” Additionally, one’s self image means their idea of how they perceive themselves. How does this person accept themselves, their flaws and strengths?
These are not just simply one’s age, class, race or gender, but values and traits that set them apart from others. Lastly, one’s self-image is how the individual sees themselves. This includes personal ideas like seeing someone as worthy of love, or is beautiful, or less than, of a burden for example.
Key Takeaways: You Deserve to Love Yourself
Shaping these skills can range from being around supportive people who know and love the person. Challenging one’s self to overcome difficult situations can create dopamine, the chemical that rewards us for finishing a task. Finding support via therapy, church or books can provide ideas on healing. Using affirmations can also help provide healthy self-concept for everyone. Doing this daily and making it part of a wellbeing practice can create a positive self view, enhancing one’s life, self-image psychology and mental outlook.
I have found my cancer journey to be a positive and profound transformational experience. I’m inspired to share my healing journey here, and trust you’ll find hope, encouragement and purpose as you discover the healing power that lies within you.