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Validation, in the realm of human interactions, is a powerful and often essential component of building and maintaining healthy relationships. It’s the act of acknowledging and affirming someone’s feelings, experiences, and sense of self-worth. However, how validation is expressed and received can range from healthy to unhealthy, and striking a balance between the two is crucial for fostering positive and enduring connections with others.
Below, we explore the concepts of healthy and unhealthy validation and discuss how to find that delicate equilibrium in your relationships.
Understanding Healthy Validation
Healthy validation in relationships is based on empathy, respect, and genuine care for the other person’s emotions and experiences. It serves as a cornerstone for building trust, nurturing emotional intimacy, and supporting each other’s well-being. Here are some key characteristics of healthy validation:
Healthy validation is rooted in empathy, which involves actively listening, showing understanding, and being fully present when someone shares their feelings. It’s about being there for them without judgement or criticism.
Healthy validation respects the uniqueness of each individual’s experiences and emotions, even when they differ from your own. It acknowledges that everyone’s feelings are valid, regardless of whether you agree with them.
- Open communication
In healthy relationships, there is open and honest communication about feelings and experiences. People feel comfortable expressing themselves, knowing that their emotions will be acknowledged and respected.
- Supportive behaviour
Healthy validation often translates into supportive actions. When someone feels validated, they are more likely to receive the support and encouragement they need during challenging times.
- Building trust
Trust is a natural outcome of healthy validation, as it creates a safe and supportive environment where individuals can be vulnerable without fear of rejection or judgement.
Recognising Unhealthy Validation
Unhealthy validation, on the other hand, can lead to dysfunction in relationships. It may involve behaviours that perpetuate negative patterns, enable destructive behaviours, or foster co-dependency. Here are some signs of unhealthy validation:
- Enabling negative behaviour
Unhealthy validation can involve enabling someone’s negative or harmful behaviour by overlooking or excusing it. This only perpetuates the problem and prevents growth or change.
Unhealthy validation can contribute to co-dependent relationships, where individuals rely on each other for their self-worth, creating an unhealthy emotional dependency.
Manipulative individuals may use validation as a tactic to gain trust or control over others. This can lead to a one-sided and unbalanced relationship.
- Avoidance of conflict
In some cases, unhealthy validation involves avoiding conflict at all costs, even when addressing issues is necessary for growth and resolution.
Finding Balance in Validation
Striking a balance between healthy and unhealthy validation is essential for maintaining positive and sustainable relationships. Here are some strategies to help you achieve this balance:
1. Encourage growth
Healthy validation supports personal growth and positive change. Encourage your loved ones to make healthy choices and overcome challenges, rather than enabling negative behaviours.
2. Seek mutual validation
Foster relationships where both parties validate each other’s feelings and experiences. Mutual validation promotes emotional intimacy and a strong sense of connection.
3. Respect boundaries
Respect your own boundaries and those of others. It’s okay to set limits on the validation you provide, and it’s important to acknowledge when your boundaries are being crossed.
4. Seek professional help
If you find it challenging to strike a balance between healthy and unhealthy validation, or if your relationships are consistently affected, consider seeking the assistance of a therapist or counsellor.
Validation is an essential component of human relationships, but it’s essential to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy validation. Striking a balance is key to maintaining positive, supportive, and sustainable connections with others, and enforcing self-care.
The thing is, fostering relationships that are based on empathy, understanding, and trust does take time and effort, making it challenging for some individuals. In such cases, going for counselling therapy in Singapore can be an effective solution to achieving a healthier relationship with a loved one. Family therapy sessions may also be a good option.
Counselling or therapy sessions require a safe and comfortable space where you can truly be yourself. At A Space Between, we offer a variety of inviting spaces for you to choose from. If you’re curious to learn more about our services or explore the spaces we provide, please visit our membership page here for more details.
No matter what you’re facing, perhaps our website can offer up some solace or comfort. Know that you’re not alone, and that there is help available. This can be hard to keep in mind if you haven’t quite found the right support system. While it’s definitely not easy to find the right fit—whether you’re looking for a support group or a mental health provider—with diligence, it’s totally possible.
If you are a therapist, life coach or counsellor looking to join our growing community, head over to book a tour once you have learnt about the plans we offer. At A Space Between, there is a ready league of providers you can network with. With professionals from various backgrounds and therapy practices, there are bound to be the ones you can connect with. Private practice does not have to be lonely.