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Validation

We seem to live in a world in which telling other people how wrong they are is a sport.  We seem to be incapable of having empathy for one another, we just want to be RIGHT.  Ignoring others’ pain, minimizing the experience of others, and walking past blatant needs is a daily occurrence.  The frequency with which I see people NOT holding doors for one another, the sea of people eating at tables alone in the same room, or walking through life with earbuds in is the new norm.  Unfortunately, the cost of this sort of behavior is damaged relationships, isolation, and dissatisfaction.

Living in a world that tells us that our perceptions are wrong or our emotional experience is exaggerated leads to people who question their interpretations.  People who aren’t sure if what they are feeling is correct or accurate leads to increased anxiety.  People are anxious that they will be judged for their beliefs which leads them to retreat away from peers and isolate.

The answer to this predicament is to become a more validating culture as a whole.  Validation is the art of communicating to another that their experience makes sense to you.  If it doesn’t make sense to you, validating can also take the form of listening and letting them know that you are willing to hold their emotional experience without judgment or trying to “fix it”.

Examples:

  1. When your spouse is venting about some workplace “drama” that makes  no sense to you, you could say “wow hun…it sounds like the workplace politics are really stressful for you” (And that’s it! You just listen and validate..do not try to give a million solutions! Not unless they specifically ask for it).
  2. If a friend is having high levels of anxiety over something that doesn’t worry you, you could say “being that anxious is exhausting, I am sorry you are feeling overwhelmed”. (And that’s it! You just listen and validate!)
  3. If a friend has had several difficult experiences in one week, you could say “That sounds hard, I would be having a hard time if all that happened to me too!” (And that’s it! You just listen and validate!)
  4. If your teen just got an acceptance letter to the college they have been waiting for, you could say “I am SO excited for you, this is amazing news!”
  5. If your parent is having a difficult time justifying a “splurge” because they were raised in poverty, you could say “It really makes sense that you would struggle to make a big purchase, given your childhood” (And that’s it! You just listen and validate!)

If we can work on HEARING each other  more and trying less to FIX each other, we would come together and build relationships instead of building so many walls.  More connection will decrease the anxiety and depression in our world.  Give it a try!

 

 

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Life Doesn’t Have To Be THIS Difficult

Dont try so hard

I love this. What a great representation of the fact that we all try too hard. We try to force things, things that ought not be forced!  We spend so much time in fear…fear of missing out, fear of not being good enough, fear of loosing someone/something…we forget to stop and just experience life!

Do you see that happiness really is a choice?  You will never earn enough money (to be happy), life in the right city/climate (to be happy), be in relationship with the perfect person (to be happy)… you are chasing your tail!  Being happy is a choice and it can happen when you are broke, when it is raining, when you are just ending a relationship, etc…if we stop seeking happiness, and instead make a choice to be happy amidst the little nuances of life…we actually can be happy!

It reminds me of when people say “you will miss this stage (of parenting)” when my kids are driving me nuts! I have a choice to stop and smile, enjoy the tantrum-at-the-park-phase because it really will end so soon.  You can be happy in the face of chaos.  You have a choice!

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How and Why to Meditate

 

I am not a spokesperson for Happify, I have just recently discovered their videos and wanted to share them!! I am always trying to impress upon my clients the importance of meditation.  It really is a muscle to strengthen and a gift you can give yourself! And it is FREE!!

 

Give it a try! I can tell you that on the days I start with meditation, everything goes so much smoother.  I really do recommend STARTING your day with meditation, at least in the beginning.

Most major cities have community meditations (google it!) and formal Zen Centers that can be a helpful place to begin.  Think about it: how successful are you at working out at home vs at the gym? Going somewhere to meditate can increase accountability and length of sitting.  You can also find so many apps that have meditation coaching and can be used anywhere.  Give it a try!