To acknowledge and accept a person's feelings, thoughts, behaviors and internal experience as valid and understandable.
Validation is a tool that verifies that the other person’s feelings are valid, but doesn’t necessarily condone or agree with their behavior.
One of the main things people with Borderline Personality Disorder involuntarily seek is validation, more in a way of negating the invalidation they feel inside due to their issues of abandonment, abuse and rejection. It is actually named as an essential tool in managing a relationship with someone with BPD.
I believe people with any sort of mental illness judge themselves constantly, and having been in therapy and groups for a long time I've heard a lot of reasons why people feel they should judge themselves. It's an easy thing to do, be hard on yourself and say you're not good enough or it's your own fault for having the illness you do, for feeling how you do. Since the outside world can't see the pain these type of illnesses can inflict; mentally, emotionally, physically, it becomes all the more easy to judge and blame ourselves for how we're feeling. But in reality it's no different than having asthma, diabetes or any other illness that is considered physical, and one day I hope society comes to better understand the mentally ill as having more than one face - one crazy face.
You've seen it in movies or television, even in books, the person with depression or bi-polar or schizophrenia is crazy and therefore can't control their actions and should be pitied then put away in the nuthouse. I'm not saying any of this to offend anyone but there's a lot of times I, myself, have been offended by the words of others when it comes to mental illness. My family goes to a beautiful lakeside cabin every year where the other cabins are all owned by friends and family. At one point one of the cabins was owned by a man who was always called crazy and unstable because he had depression and took medication, and yeah, was a little different than the others around him. All these years later every time his name is brought up, the same things are also associated with him; depressed, crazy, out-of-his-mind, medication. I sit by and stifle all the things that I want to say to these ignorant people - who by the way aren't ignorant in intelligence but ignorant in knowledge and who I love dearly - but I know it's not going to change how they talk about this man nor will it make then want to understand more of what he's been through.
I'm open about my illnesses, my hospitalizations and my state of mine in general, and I'm sure in a lot of circles I'm also considered to be the crazy, out-of-her-mind one who is on medication and generally just can't cope with life. There's nothing I can do about that except try to educate those that I believe will try to understand the intricacies of mental illness and not group every illness and every sufferer into one pretty, tied-with-a-bow box. We have a saying in therapy - "I am not my illness" - and I know that, but sometimes it's hard to keep believing when I'm looked at and judged as the illnesses I have, and not the actual person I am inside.
I'll get off my soapbox now since I never meant to get on it in the first place. This whole post was only supposed to be about how good validation makes me feel and how someone in my life has validated me in the best possible way. In a few distinct words she's made me realize that I have overcome a lot in the past year, plus done a lot to be proud of so excuse me for tooting my own horn - a little self-validation goes a long way. 2011 was one of the worst years I've ever had - hospitalizations, med changes, sickness, depression raging out of control, but like the mighty Phoenix (lol had to say that for effect) I'm climbing out of the ashes and becoming a better me - dare I say, an accomplished me? I'm not saying I'm successful or excellent at what I do, but I'm trying, and with small baby steps, I am succeeding.
(Heres' where I self-validate, ie toot my own horn lol - or as we say in therapy, this is my Accomplishments List) (feel free to ignore this part :D)
- Outfoxed came out in August as a free read but also as the first piece of original work I'd ever let go into the webiverse, plus it's in two anthologies as well.
-One of my goals for 2011 was to be published by the end of the year - Finally Home came out on December 27.
-Pride & Joy, my YA short story that I'm proud to have all my royalties go to the It Gets Better campaign came out in January.
-This month I had Love & Patience and Theme of Hearts.
- Later in the year my story, The P.I. and the Rock Star, will be in an anthology for Less Than Three Press. (and it's awesome if I do say so myself - lol)
I don't have any other sure-things, but I have a few totally possibles:
- Lawyers in Love (tentative title), my lawyer story is at 26,000 words and I think I already have some interest in it. My big hope is it will end up long enough for print.
- Lucius' Bite (Family of Misfits 1), my wolf/gypsy/witch has finally hit 31,000, and it's becoming clear where exactly it's headed. I'm pretty in love with it. :)
- Glitter Fox 2 is at 12,000 words
- Home on the Ranch 2 is at 13,000 words
- I also have an outline done for a Father's Day short/novella that I'm excited to write since I'm a big fan of stories with children and dads.
Maybes are better than Not Gonna Happens or Not Even Gonna Tries, right? So I guess I'm trying really hard to let myself be a little proud of me right now for those accomplishments.
But what I know I'm exceptionally proud of is having a hand in growing such a beautiful, considerate, empathetic, caring daughter who's note (above) brought tears to my eyes and love to my heart. Like I said, validation goes a long way to encourage someone to keep climbing out of those ashes.
Have you validated someone today? Maybe you should give it a try, it might make you both feel awesome. :)
(Disclaimer - the views in this post are strictly mine and I do understand that validation is not only needed in people with mental illness, but I am simply writing from my own point of view)
One of the things I hated most about my day job was the way my coworkers never tried to understand me. They're all extroverts with family, lots of friends, love to go to concerts/bars/etc and be busy all the time. They never once tried to get that I'm an introvert, happiest in my own head and with no interest in raising a family or socializing 24/7. I never expected them to agree with me, or to say that my way of life was better than their's, or anything else. I just wanted them to say 'we get you have different needs/preferences'. But they didn't, they just constantly made fun of me for not being them.ReplyDelete
I don't know if that actually has anything to do with all that you've said, but it made me think of it. People are who they are, and no one deserves to be invalidated just for not fitting some non-existent mold.
what a great post, and I am so excited to hear Home on the Ranch 2 is in the works ::rubs hands together::ReplyDelete
I've been thinking a lot about validation lately as it gets closer and closer to the time when I will hear back from graduate programs. I know I will be rejected from at least some ( just God willing not all) and it will be the hardest thing in the world for me (I'm tearing up already just thinking about it). I keep reminding myself the key is thinking about all the things I have accomplished and all the things I can and have done.
I think keeping our eyes on what we have accomplished in life is a healthy and important thing for everyone to do.
so anyway thanks for the post.
It totally has everything to do with what I'm trying to say. Validation is just acknowledging that others are there basically. Your co-workers validating you even by saying "I don't really understand your needs but I respect that's how you feel and it's cool" would have made all the difference in how you viewed them and your job. I'm not an expert by any means, but validation just goes a long way for anyone to be comfortable with who they are in different situations. It's not about giving someone their identify, just accepting it as it is. In group we say "it is what it is, nothing more, nothing less."
I think it's horrible that they made fun of you for your differences. That would be totally frowned on if you had a physical disability or were mentally challenged, and it shouldn't be any different in the circumstances of having a different personality than the rest of them. It's simple respect and like you, I don't believe anyone should be invalidated for not fitting into a certain box.
I think you're probably right about validation and mental illness. It may not apply to everyone, but probably most of us.ReplyDelete
You're SO right about the carelessness of speech regarding mentally ill people. I've noticed this many times, like at work where people said "yeah, he's crazy, taking meds and all. Absolutely nuts". And there I am, sitting with them, keeping my mouth shut. They know I also have a mental illness and that I'm taking meds, but they seem to forget when they're talking about other people. I don't know if I should view that as a positive thing for me, since they're possibly not thinking about as an absolute nutter, but it still annoys me every time. What right do people have to judge people who are ill? Do they judge people with cancer too? I think not.
I have validated my boys and mom today, but I'm going to validate you as well. You're an awesome person, sweet and caring. You're a fantastic author and you're doing so great with your writing. People love you and love talking to you. Feel free to give yourself some pats on the back, honey, because you deserve them.
I agree with what Megan said. :)ReplyDelete
For a long time, I have been the black sheep of my family. The shy, introverted one, who was always reading and caught up in my own head and never said all that much. No one supported my writing, including my parents, until I actually got published and then suddenly they were proud and bragging to their friends.
It was my crit group and friends, and eventual publishers, who validated me. :)
You have every right to be proud of your accomplishments. And you're right, "Maybes" are better than "Not Gonna Happens" or "Not Even Gonna Tries."
Thanks EE. I'm glad you appreciated the post. I wasn't sure if maybe I share too much here sometimes and make people think I'm some whiny weirdo. Lol. But maybe I am - just validate me and I'm good. :)ReplyDelete
Rejection is one of the hardest things to deal with in life - period. I have a disorder that actually came about because of abuse and rejection so that part of being a writer is so freaking scary for me and I know for everyone else.
When I first got out of the hospital (the last time) I was encouraged to do an accomplishment journal which I thought was completely preposterous because I had accomplished nothing. I learned that each day is different when it comes to accomplishments or achievements - some days that list would have "had breakfast" or "got dressed" or even "moved from my bed to the couch" - it's all a matter of personal perspective. One person's normal behavior is another person's accomplishment.
Good luck with your graduate applications. Keep your chin up. I respect you for even applying. And yes, Finally Home will have a sequel - it was started as a Valentines short but Josiah and Wyatt became angry that I wasn't giving them enough time for what they needed to do so... now it will hopefully be novel size. :)
Take care and thanks for the comment.
Everyone needs to be validated. Especially those of us who do not fit in with the norm. Unlike Megan, I'm a total blabbermouth. But, I'm sure your co-workers will not like me either Megan. People always complain that I'm too bouncy, talk too much and I'm just plain weird. Most days I shrug it off. But sometimes when everything weighs down on me, and someone carelessly gives me the look of 'what the hell is wrong with you' or 'get yourself together and act normal', I cringe.ReplyDelete
I had a boyfriend break up with me in December last year because I wans't calling him enough and asking about how things were going in his life. He called me borderline narcissitic and that hurt, especially on the days when I hear the term echoing in my head.
Friends help, especially those who are like you and those who love you because of your fault. I guess, all I'm trying to say is you're doing great dear, and reading about your fight and how you keep pushing on encourages me too.
P.S. Eagerly waiting for the family of misfits stories. It sounds fascinating and the pictures you have chosen to depict the characters are oh la la.
Thank you Erica - you made me cry, in a good way. :)ReplyDelete
I try not to let it get to me when I hear people being rude about mental illness in general but it really pisses me off. When my daughter was in jr high, I found a picture one of her friends had made of parents, me included. They were stick figures, one had the word bitch over her head, one was a very round figure, one had a peanut and the word house over her head. Wasn't hard to figure out which one was me and it hurt like hell even though I knew my daughter hadn't done it and it was just jr. high fun. Not sure why I told you that but it came to mind.
I try to validate my kids and I'm honest to them when I need validation. It's hard to feel needy sometimes but it is what it is. :) Thanks for your sweet words too.
Thank you, Piper-babe. I get the whole black sheep thing and I want you to know you're nothing but awesome in my mind. I guess we make the family we need to feel validated, right?ReplyDelete
Thanks K-lee for posting this. <3 When people allow themselves to be stripped to their barest thoughts and feelings, it's always so inspirational to me, and helps remind me that not everyone is perfect and that's ok (for me and them).ReplyDelete
(I still need to read your stuff, I'm so behind on LT3 reads >_>)
Sandra - thanks so much for the comment and for reading this long-assed post, too. I think we learn early in life the phrase "sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me" and maybe it's true when we're little but not so much when you're older. I think words can brutalize people, can abolish their hopes and dreams, but in the dialectical sense, they can bring us up, give us hope, and make our dreams more attainable.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, it's not so easy to pick and choose which words stick in our heads or which people say them. That's where validation comes in I guess and where we have to learn to mindfully let the words come in then slip out just as easily. It's not easy and it takes a lot of practice and work but it is one skill I've learned from all my therapy - one that I'm still learning and struggling with. Mindfulness. Check it out, it can be very helpful.
It makes me really happy to hear that my babbling encourages you. I wonder sometimes if I share too much and make this blog a kind of downer. I hope I mix it up with enough hot boy pics, videos and other stuff to make it work.
Family of Misfits is something I'm very excited about - I've never written paranormal before and this story has a wolf, witch, mountain lion, bear and a witch - so far. It's fun to write but as is my norm, it's also very emotional. And yeah, I love my inspirational character pictures too.
Thank you, London, and welcome to my blog. I'm thrilled to have you here. I tend to strip to my barest a lot - lol - but don't worry, it's only in the metaphorical sense. I think being perfect must be kind of boring. :)ReplyDelete
Like I alread said a few times, I admire your honesty and openness to talk about everything. You should be proud on everything you have accomplished so far, in your professional and personal life, and I truly believe there is more ahead of you.ReplyDelete
It is not about being liked, appreciated or understood by anyone and everyone, but to be acknowledged and validated by people who matter to you, at least that is how I think about it.
For years I tried to be accepted by everyone and the passed months some things happened in my life that hurt me so much and broke me. But it was some kind of wakeup call for me and I am trying to rearrange my life and not give people who don't matter the right, the power to judge me or hurt me.
Thanks you for everything. You don't know how much you mean to me and helped me, even when I was absent the passed few months.
Don't ever feel guilty talking about your personal business on your blog. You have every right to do so. You are being honest and probably helping others who might be dealing with some of the same issues. Plus, I'm sure it helps you sort your own feelings out if you're having a bad day.ReplyDelete
I've only been following this blog since December, but I have never regretted checking it out. I think you are an amazing author and you really should be proud of yourself. I hope 2012 will be the best year ever for you. Take care. :)
You have accomplished a lot. That's wonderful, :)ReplyDelete
Arzu - you know I love you, sweetie. And I'm always here if you need me.ReplyDelete
Lisa - you're so sweet. I love that you comment on almost every post I do - it does validate me, so thank you.ReplyDelete
Thanks Iv. Love you, sweetpea.ReplyDelete