A Human Approach

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Don’t Say That!

Do any of these sound familiar? “Cheer up”, “Don’t Cry”, “It’s not that bad.”, “It’s wrong to think that way”, “You’re making way too big a deal out of this”, “Don’t be like that”, “You’re overreacting”, “Don’t be so sensitive”, or “Boys don’t cry”.

Or maybe, “You’re bringing everyone down.  Go wash your face and come back with a smile.  That’s my girl”. 

Invalidation: the opposite of being recognized, heard, and accepted.  Invalidation is the disregard or minimizing, dismissing, sometimes punishing, and definitely trivializing of emotional expression.

It sounds so horrible, why would anyone say something like that to another human being?  The truth is invalidation is often delivered by well-intentioned, good people.  Consoling a young one, a friend, or a co-worker with a vote of confidence, showing them the way with your words, may seem supportive but that toxic positivity can have the opposite effect and erode someone’s feelings of self-worth.

How do we encourage without imposing a solution?

Aha! ~ Listen from where they are.

“Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not.” ~ Sheryl Sandberg. 

If someone is drowning, you would not offer them swimming lessons from the shore, right? You’d toss them a life buoy. 

So, you needn’t agree with the expressions of another, try and fix them or even wade in the pool with them, however giving them a life-saving ear and allowing them to get to safety on their own, shows that you’re meeting them where they are without judgment or in any way adding to their trauma.

Validation of self is where the real adult power lies but let’s not forget that we’re tribal beings.  Sometimes the validation of someone you love may be just the boost they need at that moment.

One compassionate foot in front of the other!

That was one heck of a full moon last week, eh?  “Once in a blue moon” , as they say, we need to be very okay releasing what no longer serves and face forward, trusting that the void will be filled with our heart’s desire.  It’s important that we not trivialize our feelings or those of others as we expand.  Let’s talk more on our YouTube channel entitled, “Don’t Say That!”

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