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MCC Daily Tribune

Recognizing and Validating Your Feelings

Recognizing and Validating Your Feelings:

An important component of any healthy relationship is validation. We validate by communicating to another person that their thoughts, feelings, and actions make sense and are understandable in a particular situation. To validate does not necessarily mean to like or to agree with. Similarly, we can apply this same thinking to ourselves by practicing self-validation, or the act of perceiving our own thoughts, feelings, and actions as accurate and acceptable.

Have you ever thought to yourself: "Why am I SO upset about this? It shouldn't be this big of a deal. I have all these good things in my life and it could be so much worse for me. I should look on the bright side." These are examples of self-invalidating statements. Instead, we encourage you to shift your thinking to use more self-validating statements such as: "Wow, I'm feeling really sad and overwhelmed right now. I bet others are also feeling sad, given the circumstances. I have a right to feel this way, and it's okay to not feel okay sometimes. Even though other people have different, seemingly bigger circumstances, it's not helpful to compare myself to them. What I'm feeling is real and valid too, and there's space for all of us to recognize and respect one another's experiences."

For many of us, it is hard work to act as the cheerleader inside our own heads, to challenge automatic negative thoughts and self-invalidating statements. During May Mental Health Month, we encourage you to practice acknowledging and accepting your feelings (even if you do not like them or agree with them). Just by labeling an emotion, it automatically brings the intensity down just a little bit. Consider this: Am I feeling mad, sad, glad, or scared right now? These are typically the four most commonly felt emotions. If you feel safe doing so, we invite you to notice what is coming up for you throughout the coming days and weeks of this quarantine, and work to label and validate your experience. Consider also practicing the skill of "Riding the Wave," with the metaphor of imagining that you are a surfer in the "emotion ocean." Feelings come in waves; some may be stronger than others but all waves have the same pattern - they peak, hit the shore, then recede back out to the ocean. Instead of standing with your back towards the ocean and letting the wave crash into you at the shore, imagine riding on top of the wave like a surfer. And remember that all waves will pass.

Be well, stay safe, and please reach out to us if you are in need of additional support.

With warm regards,

Counseling Center & Disability Services Team

Phone: (585) 292-2140 *Press 1 for Disability & 2 for Counseling

Email: &

Morgan Kennell
Counseling Center & Disability Services