On-one ever truly walks the full path of recovery on their own. Maybe they have a friend, family member, or maybe just a therapist or even just a pet! There is nearly always someone next to them giving them a push along the right track. This week is all about taking a little time away from yourself and giving it to someone else. The idiom ‘You Have To Give a Little To Get a Little’ is perfect for this because if you start to validate others around you, that validation will come back tenfold!
I want to put the record straight on the word “validation”. It does not mean you have to be nice or kind to anyone, it simply means you have to show them that they matter as well. Not necessary to you, but maybe to someone they are close to. Things like holding a door open for a stranger is validation, being polite and friendly to someone is also validation. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be something big, it just has to be heartfelt. But why should you do this? Others around you haven’t been there during your troubles? Mike from the office has never held the door open for you! In fact, he barely acknowledges you! No-one else at college brought you a birthday card when it was your turn? So why should you buy one for them?
People who show each other acceptance and offer validation to each other are able to feel more connected and build stronger relationships which in turn makes BOTH parties feel much better about themselves. What if you held the door open for your “evil” boss, but then the next day he does the same thing for you in return and starts to talk to you like a human! It will lift your day and might even build bridges for a whole better future! If you notice someone feeling down, try picking them up, if you notice someone struggling with something, give them a hand! You will feel better about yourself, they will be more inclined to be friendlier and more interested in you and all those things come together to make your life a whole lot better.
Those of you who have BPD will need all the support and validation you can get at times, so practising a mantra of ‘Give a Little, Get a Little’ is the best way to get that support network you might well need one day. I’m sure there are times when you feel strong enough to validate others even if it is only in small ways. When people feel that others hear and understand them, it can help lessen the intensity of strong emotions that are often linked to BPD. This can be particularly important when it comes to strong negative or distressing feelings. Some research suggests that offering people emotional validation may help them better regulate their emotions and in turn that makes them more able to cope when things go bad for them.
This Week’s Homework: I challenge you to do something a little scary this week. At some point in the near future why not try doing something new and different. Maybe try a new food that you have never tried before, or visit somewhere that you have never even heard of. This doesn’t have to be something as big as you might be thinking. You could drive down that street that you always wondered where it went, or pick up a new chocolate bar in the shop just to try it. Small variations will not only keep your mind active but will also remind you how much more life is waiting for you outside your own bubble…but only when you are ready to experience it.