On Day 1, we spoke about validation. Validation is the affirmation that what you are feeling has merit. In the midst of a global pandemic, in a time of uncertainty, any feeling you are feeling is valid: grief, anger, apathy, resentment, depression, anxiety. Sometimes you might feel numb because the feeling is so overwhelming that attempting to feel it would be excruciating, exhausting. Sometimes you may even feel content that you get a break from going to work every day! It’s all valid.
Despite this, we are pros at invalidating our feelings constantly. Invalidation is believing that our feelings are not accurate. A good rule of thumb: any sentence that starts with “at least” is likely to be an invalidating sentiment. These are examples of things we don’t want to say to ourselves.
I’m really upset that my job postponed my raise indefinitely.
At least you have a job.
I’m sad and miss my mom during this quarantine.
At least you have a mom to miss.
My husband and I have started arguing since we are in the house together all day.
At least you have a husband. At least you have a house.
Yes, all of these statements are factual. But they ignore the underlying feelings of frustration, grief, loneliness, and irritability.
What if we reframed each of these sentiments?
I’m really upset that I’m not getting my raise. I am, however, grateful that my job has been able to continue paying me during this time.
I really miss my mom. I’m grateful I have FaceTime to connect with her every day.
I’m feeling so irritated with my husband right now. I’m grateful that I can go into the bedroom for some quiet time apart. We’ve been arguing so much less!
Very different sentiment!
This is gratitude. Gratitude by nature cannot be invalidating. Gratitude is not berating yourself, telling you to get over it, or pull up your bootstraps. Feelings pass naturally and in time: you will move through your feeling, you will “get over it.” But for the moment, it’s present, it’s there. And gratitude is the way in which we move through it.
For today, practice validating your feelings. I promise you won’t get lost in them! The feeling will naturally rise and fall. It will pass. Why not give yourself a bit of loving kindness to help it along?