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  • Writer's picture Zalman Nelson - Therapist

What is Emotional Validation?

Updated: Aug 17, 2022

emotional validation and inner child healing

Emotional validation is the experience of acceptance, approval, and reassurance that we receive from others or give to ourselves. It’s the very opposite of being rejected, judged, criticized, ignored, or put down.

Why We Are Dependent on Others for Emotional Validation

It’s something that we all need. But why are we often so dependent, needed, and addicted to getting it from others? Because we haven’t learned to emotionally validate ourselves enough. Our childhood and school experiences left us unsure and doubtful of our worth and value. Yet, we need to know we’re good, worthy, valid, and lovable. So, we’re constantly dependent on getting it from others. We’re codependent.

For sure, it feels great to get good feedback from friends, at work, and in our relationships. The issue is when we don’t get it. We’re crushed and wrecked. Moreover, we spent so much time, energy, and effort seeking it from others. We’ll even violate our norms and boundaries, ignore our feelings and needs, and throw ourselves and those around us, all in the hopes that they’ll be happy. Then, they’ll be happy with us. And then, finally, we can feel good about ourselves.

But it’s short-lived. Because deep in our core our Inner Child’s sense of self is loud and strong and dominated by doubts of our worth and value. It remains fearful of any kind of rejection or failure since that would then be distorted into “proof” that we’re no good, unworthy, and unlovable.

Emotionally Validate Ourselves

We have to learn to emotionally validate ourselves. We have to practice and build up our sense of worth and value so that we know, unconditionally, that we’re good. And ultimately, we have to become the main source of validation.

Then, we can feel good and confident, free of the constant anxiety and fear that rejection, failure, and mistakes are right around the corner, threatening to be “evidence” we’re no good. We can also, then enjoy the emotional validation we get from others.

But the real key is those moments when we don’t get the approval of others. Times in which we mess up, fail in some way, don’t get it right, or do or say something that offends another person. Our newfound sense and clarity of our worth leave us able to handle it. That what we did or said was a problem, we didn’t intend it, and we’re sorry and we take ownership of it and for making it right. However, our sense of worth and value is no longer challenged or even enters into the picture. We’re good unconditionally. We’re emotionally validated.

And now, finally, our Inner Child is healing, due to the regularly practiced message he receives. All those triggering moments we go through, are really that Inner Child part of ourselves wondering and asking: Am I good? Now, there’s an answer: yes, absolutely.

Regular and Consistent Practice

The regular and consistent practice of tuning into what we feel, facing and naming and connecting to triggered feelings, and using our emotions to teach us about the unmet emotional needs of our Inner Child, builds up our sense of worth and value. That we’re worth our own time, to stop what we’re doing for a few moments here and there, tune in, hear, pay attention, and accept the feelings we notice. That’s Emotional Validation, and to achieve it we need to practice it day in and day out. We need to reparent that part of ourselves and finally, consistently deliver the Emotional Validation we’ve long needs, yet gone without.

How to Emotionally Validate

•Search “feelings chart” and download it to your phone.

•When you’re triggered or thinking about an earlier triggered moment, use the chart to help you connect with your Inner Child by putting names to the feelings you feel.

•Do that consistently, at least once a day, even if it’s only for a minute a day.

•Then, after you feel, you deal. After you name the feelings, reassure and encourage your Inner Child. Tell him one of the following:

  1. It's normal to feel this way.

  2. Your feelings are valid.

  3. I'm proud of you.

  4. This is hard. What do you need to cope or feel better?

  5. It's okay to cry.

  6. You’re making progress.

  7. You gave it our best effort.

  8. You are worthy.


Click here for a consultation with me, where we will review your triggers and emotional needs, and show you the road map for success.

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