Day 195 (A Hundred & Ninety-Five) of 365 days

As a Product Manager, you might have been validating products. However, most of us don’t know that we can validate ourselves. Validation is an important part of mental and emotional health. It’s how we come to terms with the not-so-wonderful aspects of ourselves, find compassion for those flaws, and grow to understand them. Validation is to seek to understand and then accept what your mind and heart are saying to you, for better or worse.

Self-validation is accepting your own internal experience, your thoughts, and your feelings. Self-validation doesn’t mean that you believe your thoughts or think your feelings are justified. There are many times that you will have thoughts that surprise you or that don’t reflect your values or what you know is true. You will also have feelings that you know aren’t justified. If you fight the thoughts and feelings or judge yourself for having them, then you increase your emotional upset. You’ll also miss out on important information about who you are as a person.

Validating your thoughts and emotions will help you calm yourself and manage them more effectively. Validating yourself will help you accept and better understand yourself, which leads to a stronger identity and better skills at managing intense emotions. Self-validation helps you find wisdom.

Learning to self-validate is not so easy. Notice that mindfulness and self-validation go hand in hand. Being mindful of the thoughts you are having and the feelings you are experiencing is necessary before you can validate that internal experience.

Oftentimes, when we’re feeling down on ourselves, we feel a (sometimes subconscious) desire to punish ourselves. When we reject or deprive ourselves in this way, we exacerbate our feelings, because we then feel bad about two things: the original incident and the pain we’re causing ourselves. If you’re feeling down, or down on yourself, ask yourself: “What does my body need? What does my mind need? What does my spirit need?” Or otherwise expressed: What will make you feel better, more stable, healthier, and more balanced?

You may find that you need to take a walk to feel more energized, take a nap to feel better rested, practice deep breathing to clear your head or drink some water to hydrate yourself. This is validating yourself in action. Whenever you address your needs, you reinforce to yourself that they are important, regardless of whatever you did or didn’t do previously. One more thing has helped me tremendously in self-validation myself: accepting that it’s okay to need reminders like these.

Ultimately, your opinion of yourself is the only thing that should be able to make or break your day, your mood, your drive, your image, and your life. How you see yourself will determine your limit and how much you get out of life.