Therapy Reflections is reader supported. When you buy items through links on this blog, I may earn an affiliate commission, which will assist me in continuing to create useful content for the healing journeys of my readers.
Do you ever feel like your emotions rule your life? Do they dictate your mood and make seemingly small stressors seem impossibly overwhelming?
You’re not alone; so many of us experience these difficulties with intense emotions and our emotional health. However, it is possible to develop better coping strategies that will help you to validate and manage these intense feelings before they spiral out of control.
Often self-invalidation, judgement, and a dismissive perspective towards our emotional experiences can cause emotions to SCREAM at us to PAY ATTENTION – making the emotion last for even longer and making you feel stuck in extended emotional suffering!
In this blog post, we’ll cover 5 simple ways to recognize and validate your emotional experience in order to build healthier habits for managing emotional distress. If you’re ready for an empowering journey towards a more supportive and peaceful relationship with yourself and your emotional experience, then keep reading!
Complex traumatic experience of an invalidating environment in childhood
Coping with the results of childhood trauma on our emotional experience in adulthood can be an incredibly difficult process. It’s important to recognize and validate your feelings as a way to heal from trauma. While this can be uncomfortable and painful, it is a necessary step in moving forward.
When faced with emotions connected to your childhood trauma, it is important to take the time to process them without judgement. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, without letting those feelings define who you are. Recognize that these emotions don’t have control over you, but rather are just a part of your life experience that needs to be acknowledged. Accept that it is okay for you to feel this way and allow yourself the freedom to feel whatever comes up in a safe space if possible.
Giving yourself permission to experience and express your emotions can help start the healing process even though it may be difficult or uncomfortable at first. Sharing your stories with trusted friends or family members can create moments of understanding and deepening relationships, helping create an atmosphere of security and support.
Consider finding professional help through counseling or therapy if needed so that somebody who is not personally invested can provide guidance on how to navigate your emotions in a healthy way, ultimately leading towards healing journey of self-discovery.
Validating your emotions is key in dealing with childhood trauma so remember: acknowledge, accept, express–all three components play an important role in finding peace within yourself again after facing trauma.
5 Simple Ways to Self-Validate Your Emotional Experience and Heal Past Trauma
- Identify your emotion and tell yourself “It is okay for me to feel (sad, angry, anxious, overwhelmed…)” or try saying “I am allowed to feel (happy, excited, angry, overwhelmed, scared…).
- Find the dialectic in your emotional experience by practicing “both/and”. “I can both love my family AND feel overwhelmed by spending time with them during the holidays.”
- Avoid self-judgement, criticism, and/or dismissiveness towards your emotional experience. Watch out for judgement in the form of “should” or extremes in emotional interpretations such as “always” and “never”. Reframe “I shouldn’t feel overwhelmed because nothing is happening right now” into “It makes sense that I feel overwhelmed at the grocery store, because I am feeling overwhelmed by my sensory experience of bright lights, loud noises, and many choices”.
- Ground yourself into your physical (somatic) experience by focusing on deep breathing and leaning into what each area of your body feels like as an opening to increased awareness of your emotional experience. Does you stomach feel unease or nausea when you are anxious or overwhelmed? Does your face flush red or do you feel tension in your muscles when you are angry?
- Practice radical acceptance of your emotions as part of your experience as a human. Understand that our emotional experience is necessary and important in understanding our needs. It is vital in building a safe internal and external life experience to understand the functions and purposes of both positive and negative emotional experiences. Try telling yourself “I am feeling irritated by my boyfriend not following through on his promise. This situation is what it is AND I am allowed to feel this emotion. How is this irritation serving me in this moment and what do I need to learn from this emotion to express as a need in my relationship moving forward?”
Creating an internal space of acceptance and validation for your emotional experiences can have a very positive impact on your journey of healing. By allowing yourself to feel what you are feeling without judgement, you give yourself permission to express and process these emotions in a healthier way.
With this type of awareness, comes the ability to step back from any negative feelings and learn how to better cope with their intensity. This can lead to moments of understanding and deepened relationships, all helping create an atmosphere of security and support both internally and externally, ultimately fostering a healthier state of being.
Finding your control and healing from an invalidating environment in childhood
Validating your emotions is an important step in healing from past trauma experienced in an invalidating emotional environment. By looking inward and exploring five simple ways to achieve this, you can create a safe space within yourself that promotes self-love, understanding and support, ultimately leading to a more peaceful state of being.
Validating your emotions allows you to take ownership of them, find control, and heal from past trauma. If needed, looking for support from friends, family or professional help can be an additional step towards creating a validating atmosphere and emotional safety in your life.