This blog shares 4 ways on how to stop invalidating yourself. Has anyone ever told you in response to you sharing your feelings, “that happens to everyone,” or “someone else has it worse out there”? This could be in times where you re-experience trauma, fall into a depressive episode, or just are plain having a bad day.
Sure, everyone goes through difficult times. And it may hold true that others are in more challenging situations. But, your difficult times and experiences are unique to you, and you do not deserve to have them minimized or generalized. You deserve empathy and compassion!
We may not feel comfortable opening up to others who criticize or brush off our experiences as insignificant. Alongside this, you might feel that they are right and you shouldn’t feel stress, discomfort, or unhappiness with things in your life.
However, you may begin invalidating yourself in an attempt to avoid feeling those ways, and avoid opening up to others. This in turn leaves you feeling unsure about how to think or feel. You may struggle with being kind or gentle with yourself as a result.
The four ways to stop invalidating yourself include: 1) Try to understand where the invalidation is coming from. 2) Avoid self-comparisons to others. 3) Find reasons to validate yourself. 4) Seek out professional mental health support.
Anxiety therapy helps you understand where your negative inner-dialogue may stem from. Alongside this, your anxiety therapist will give you the tools to feel relief from your anxiety! Make sure to check out our blog on 3 Steps for Reversing Negative-Self Talk.
How to Stop Invalidating Yourself: Try to understand where the invalidation is coming from
A common reason for self-invalidation is through learning to do so from family or community members. You may have grown up in a household where expressing your feelings was discouraged in one way or another. As a response, you may have been insulted, shamed, or even disciplined.
This could be due to cultural reasons or intergenerational trauma in the family. There might be little or no warmth received from your family or community members when expressing big feelings and seeking out support. It may have been explained to you that those feelings are weak, selfish, or untrue.
Self-invalidation is a learned behavior. At one point, when you presented your big feelings to someone significant, they shut them down and you learned to do that to yourself too.
Whether from parental or guardian figures, siblings, neighbors, baby-sitters, or friends. You were shut down, dismissed, or invalidated for expressing your feelings.
Aside from any upbringing-related reasons, you could also have a fear of complaining about perceived “first-world problems.” You recognize the privilege you have for having access to clean water, electricity/technology, clothing, housing, etc. This point, however, will be discussed further in avoiding self-comparison to others.
Anxiety counseling works to understand what specifically makes you anxious on a regular basis. When in anxiety therapy, you’ll learn and acquire effective tools to cope. Make sure to check out our blog on 5 Ways to Connect with Your Inner Child!
How to Stop Invalidating Yourself: Avoid self-comparisons to others
You may find yourself frequently comparing yourself to others in an attempt to rid yourself of uncomfortable feelings. This could be out of worry that you are being ungrateful for what you have in life, compared to those who do not have similar things. Alongside this, there may be a sense of guilt for feeling unsatisfied with aspects of your life.
It can be difficult to avoid self-comparisons to others without feeling this way. You may stop yourself mid-feeling, to consider how someone else’s situation may be. In situations where you are opening up to someone, you seek to take up space, to focus on your issue at hand, and possibly find comfort.
In scenarios where someone is opening up to you and being vulnerable, consider how they might feel if you cut them off to share about how much worse you believe your trauma to be. These forms of comparison are rarely helpful in resolving difficult emotions and can result in emotional distance from others.
You and your situation are the current focus here. It’s okay to not consider what others may be going through instead of your personal experience. Continue to practice gratitude, but also hold space for difficult feelings. It’s a dual balance. Yin and yang.
Therapy for depression works with individuals struggling with feelings of hopelessness. New Leaf utilizes evidence based practices and interventions, to support you or your loved one. Make sure to read our blog on 7 Signs of Depression in Teens.
How to Stop Invalidating Yourself: Find reasons to validate yourself
There are reasons to validate yourself and display kindness, acceptance, and love to yourself. One major reason: it can build your self-confidence and self-assuredness. The way you perceive yourself can have the greatest impact on your mental health. By validating your feelings, positive thoughts and behaviors, you can increase your self-esteem.
One example could be if you’re experiencing burn-out or feelings of overwhelm with something. You may be in the “grind” mindset, where needing rest is viewed as weak or unnecessary, and true “grinders” or “achievers” will push through. Because of this, you feel that you must prove yourself, whether to yourself or others, and ignore your pressing need for rest and recharging.
Of course, with validating your own feelings, there also comes a balance with accountability. For instance, feelings of hurt or betrayal may be valid; however, if you behaved harmfully to yourself or someone else under the guise of validation of your own feelings, this is an ineffective way to release emotions and can lead to more stress within relationships. Make sure to understand in situations where you can accept responsibility, and where you can release it in a healthy, productive manner.
More reasons include: 1) Because the younger you deserved it. 2) Because the present you deserves it. 3) Because the future you deserves it. Stop denying yourself what you inherently deserve and give to others freely. Begin feeling justified, and allow yourself to experience it without being discredited.
Trauma therapy is beneficial to those struggling with one or various forms of trauma. This includes childhood trauma, teen trauma, relationship trauma, trauma from adulthood, and more. Make sure to read our blog on Taking Responsibility for Your Mental Health.
How to Stop Invalidating Yourself: Seek out professional mental health support
If you notice you struggle with self invalidation on a regular basis, consider seeking out professional mental health support. You will receive compassion, understanding, and be given useful tools in a non-judgmental environment. A professional also further supports you in healing and understanding your thought patterns to help you feel at peace with yourself.
While talking with trusted loved ones is encouraged, they may not be able to provide the consistent, unbiased support needed to implement necessary tools into your daily routines. Working with a professional can further support you in healing, understanding thought or behavior patterns, and implementing the proper changes to help you feel more fulfilled and mentally/emotionally healthy. You will be matched with a therapist who is competent in supporting individuals in similar situations to you.
You deserve to hold space for your uncomfortable or distressing feelings, and feel justified in experiencing them!
In-person therapy in Simi Valley is ideal for those seeking a separate, safe space from their home. Check out our blog on Online Therapy or In Office Therapy to understand what format is best for you.
By seeking out support, you can begin your journey to feeling relief. You don’t have to go through finding the right level of support alone, either. Make sure to check out our blog on How to Validate Yourself!
Seek out a validating, safe environment with us today. We will help you get to where you want to be. Our therapists provide teen therapy, individual adult therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, family therapy, and more in-office in Simi Valley, CA.