Monday, October 27, 2014

Validate me.

Are my feelings ok?

The dictionary defines val·i·date as:
  • Check or prove the validity or accuracy of (something).
  • Demonstrate or support the truth or value of.
  • Make or declare legally valid.

The word, valid, immediately reminds you of a driver’s license, passport, college ID or at the most a gift card from your favorite store.
How many of you straightaway thought… you, me or our relationships?
When we think of what we can do to nurture our relationships, we often think of tangibles. Allow a free dinner for the office team, have the florist send a bouquet off on your mother’s birthday, buy a new toy for your kid or buy your significant other a new perfume. While all of these things certainly won't hurt your relationships, they aren't necessarily the strongest ways to connect with the ones who are important to you.
How often have you witnessed the death of a relationship simply because in the equation of two, one did not feel valid-ated.

  •  A mother who surrenders to the stillness around her. Her children, all grown up no longer talk to her as much as they did. Life goes on but with very little rapport, she now questions her existence.
  •  That school friend who saved a seat for you at every lunch break, hung around behind you as you chattered along endlessly in college corridors, who for many years after wrote you, called you, emailed you until she disappeared without a trace.
  • Or that ex-special friend who you never ‘officially’ dated, who silently stood in your shadows, always available when you needed him/her, never questioned you, your intentions or your reasons why. Today you only remain a memory s/he’d prefer to forget.
Validation. What is it then?
It’s getting feedback from others that what I do and what I say matters to you…. I matter to you. You hear me. You see me. You think of me. You thank me. You acknowledge my accomplishments. You appreciate my efforts.
Validation is one way that we communicate acceptance of (ourselves and) others. Validation doesn't mean agreeing or approving. When your best friend or a family member makes a decision that you really don't think is wise, validation is a way of supporting them and strengthening the relationship even if you disagree on issues or hold a different opinion. Validation is the recognition and acceptance of another person's thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors as understandable.
Do we always need to receive validation from others? Or can we give it to ourselves?
In fact, you need to give it to yourself. When you recognize your good qualities/behaviors, praise yourself for your accomplishments (just don’t go overboard with it).
Indeed, if you don’t praise yourself, you’ll have a tendency to question the validation you receive from others: “Oh, he’s just saying that; she doesn’t really mean it.” Or you may end up being so hungry for validation that others may perceive you as excessively needy: “If I don’t notice every little thing s/he does, s/he’s on my case.”
One of the ways to understand why we need to be validated requires us to look at how often our feelings get ridiculed. We believe from an early age that strength means not crying, bravery means not feeling fear, and maturity means not getting angry.
Showing strong emotion tends to make people around you uncomfortable. Usually, they will attempt to stop you as quickly as possible. They may try to convince you that your feelings are inappropriate. Or they may try to reassure you. Though their intent maybe to help you feel better, often the impact of their message is that it's not okay to feel what you’re feeling.
Essentially then we yearn for acceptance of our feelings.
In daily lives as well, whatever else someone may be saying when they express themselves, they are probably also implicitly asking, "Are my feelings okay?"
So m/take the time to connect with your parent/s today, trace down that friend and have a heart to heart and let that ex- special friend know that you recall and realize. Do thank them all.
Validation then, answers this indirectly asked question, "Are my feelings okay?", and provides satisfaction for a profound, though often unconscious need of every individual.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Do you believe a Life Coach or Therapist will fix you?

Life Coaching/Therapy Myth # 2

You are driving down the highway and all of a sudden your car stalls and swerves. You struggle to keep control and just about manage to get the car to come to a grinding halt. Yikes! Something is wrong with your car.

What’s next? When there is a problem with your car, you take it to a mechanic to get it fixed. You take it to an expert.
What about when you are feeling unwell? You go to the experts; therapists. But you are not a car and you cannot be fixed.
For therapy to work, you need to be an active participant, bringing your expertise about what life is like for you. The best solutions and insights will come from you, with the therapist acting more like a skilled and knowledgeable facilitator, guiding the process. Therapists do not fix you and they do not tell you what to do, how to walk, talk, think, and feel. And thank heavens for that! Can you imagine being dependent on a therapist to tell you how to live?
MYTH: Therapists are experts. They will fix me.

FACT: If only this were true! A qualified therapist is there to guide you through your challenges and therapy is an experience where you can feel relieved that you are not alone with your problems, there is a qualified and proficient individual who is there to guide and direct you to success.
Working with a therapist can be compared to working with a physical trainer. Although a trainer can provide an inspirational structure for change, helping the client to identify specific goals and suggest a regime to achieve them, it is always up to the client to make use of the tools provided.
Therapy can be similarly overwhelming at first. Initially you may not even notice the results. You wonder when you will see the new changed you. It is common to feel a bit worse before you feel better, but if you stick with the process, let go of old habits, and rework some perceptions, soon enough you have your mind and body functioning better than ever.
Therapy does require you to work and does not always provide an immediate sense of relief. You may confront feelings, thoughts, memories or personal insights that are uncomfortable, even painful. These experiences result in you wanting to make changes in your beliefs, values, habits or behaviours that may make you uncomfortable at first.  Yet with time and effort they will result in a happier healthier you.
In that sense therapy is a lot of hard work—a process more akin to going to the gym than going to the spa.
Ultimately the responsibility for change rests with you. The therapist will not provide you with a psychological blueprint of who you are. The therapist’s role is to provide a safe and comfortable environment along with a trusting relationship where questions can be addressed. Therapists will not often give advice, but rather, help you to understand the conflicts within you that make it difficult for you to make your own decisions. Of course there are a-ha moments and revelations during sessions, but for change to really happen and last, the majority of the work happens between (and after) sessions. With your therapist’s help, you work towards your goals, decide on a plan for growth and change, and then practice the new behaviors not only during the sessions but most importantly out in the real world.
In the long run, the goals of therapy are for people to develop more awareness, gain more self-insight, and make the most of their strengths and abilities thereby creating a new compelling future ahead.
People like:

• Taasha made the big move – quit her job and relocated across continents to move forward with the relationship of her dreams.
• Sarah is using the tools and techniques that she learned to close deals in her new Sales Manager role.
• Neil left a successful career with the aviation industry to follow his passion and is now a successful fashion photographer.
You could be next!