Validation and eggshells
Your partner sees you as no-one else does. They sleep with you, eat with you, see you under stress. They get to hear what troubles you, delights you, what you need emotionally.
There’s a deep and beautiful vulnerability in this.
They may validate you – I hope they do. Validate your feelings and needs. Affirming that your inner world makes sense. Your frustrations, disappointments, joy and excitement etc. make sense. Even if they don’t personally have the same feelings and needs. This is healthy validation.
“I hear you hon, I know what you mean. This [situation] is really tough.”
“Yeh right, it totally makes sense that you feel frustrated.”
“Yep, wow! It’s SO great that you [thing]!! Of course you’re excited!”
Warm tone of voice, body language leaning in and attentive facial expression is obviously vital in conveying absolute acceptance and recognition of the other’s emotional experience. Validation means exactly that – convey confirmation. It soothes and heals, offers emotional safety and therefore supports intimacy.
Not: Resistance, judgment, correction, education, giving unasked for advice, nor dismissal of the other’s feelings and needs as wrong, inappropriate, illogical or irrational. This is all the opposite of validation. ALL emotion is logical in it’s own way.
And nope, you don’t have to have the same emotional responses to be able to validate. Nor is your validation of what you might consider ‘negative’ emotions going to fuel these. Infact often it quickly diffuses these.
That all sounds good but what if you’re kinda dependent upon your partner for validation? Maybe it’s more like craving approval. This can leave you feeling fragile and edgy. On alert and reactive when you don’t get this.
Validation – Approval – Dependence
Maybe you have placed your partner in the role of The Approver? It’s not for them to determine your sense of worth – as good or bad, right or wrong at any eve especially not emotionally.
That’s going to lead to a sense of wobbly-ness because you can’t control this. Nor should you. There are various reasons why you might be overly reliant upon your partner’s approval. We won’t go there in this article.
Suffice to say needing your partner’s approval leads to a vulnerability which is neither connecting nor nourishing, it’s pretty unhealthy. Sometimes referred to as co-dependent. Volatile emotions are often part of this.
If you’ve placed your partner in the role of being your source of approval, then you might feel fragile – like you’re walking on eggshells. Maybe you read into their comments the worst interpretation? Things get tangled up pretty quickly emotionally.
Why? Because having given them the power to approve of you or not, it’s difficult to feel safe. So protective habits of criticism or distancing are likely to be running. It’s hard to be open hearted and intimate if you don’t feel safe. Emotional safety comes firstly from within. From the capacity to say no and to have boundaries.
I encourage you to set the intention (get help if you need it) to lean into your inner worth. Find who you are, regardless of another’s approval or disapproval.
Relationships thrive on giving and receiving validation.
In a nutshell genuine validation
- Builds emotional safety
- Isn’t dependent on agreement or shared feelings
- Is an everyday part of healthy relationship
- Soothes, heals and supports intimacy
To learn more about building emotional safety and untangling from needing approval, I warmly invite you to join Connection Essentials!