The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel.
It is important to feel validated. I try to remain humble by reassuring myself that I don’t need someone else to tell me I’m smart enough, look good enough, or valued. The truth is that it does feel good to receive compliments or recognition as a good human. I was reading an article by author James Clear of Atomic Habits. He said that it’s good to recognize others and to validate their feelings. For example, he said, “If someone does a good job—tell them; If someone makes a mistake—forgive them; If someone tells you their problems—listen.” It’s a good rule of thumb to follow because when you tell someone, they’ve done a great job, so have you.
When you forgive someone else, you forgive yourself. And, when you take time to listen, you will begin to see yourself in others—you’ll see how connected all of us are. Doing this also teaches you the art of patience while remembering the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Golden Rule, a simple code of ethics, is often overlooked.
I’ve also grown to think that when you have this kind of awareness and try to make it part of your daily practice, you will start to feel a sense of peacefulness. Recognize how it feels inside of you when you are a good listener. It’s hard to do this because we always want to interject our own opinions or experiences. Why? Because ultimately, we are seeking the very thing that the person sharing with us is—validation, compliments, love, nurturing, etc.
The same thing goes with forgiving. Forgiving can be a tough thing to do if you tend to hold grudges. I think I’ve told you when you were younger that if you can’t find it in your heart to forgive others or yourself, it may manifest into ailment in some part of your body, eventually. A good book to reference how our bodies translate emotions into pain is Lois L. Hay’s, Heal Your Body. The book gives examples of the problem, probable cause, and how to heal it with a new thought pattern.
Giving compliments to validate someone’s good job or good looks or smarts is also one of the best ways to become more consciously aware of how we are all so interconnected. I often find myself silently complimenting others for various things. I see a mother tending to her child, and I think, “What a good little mom, “or I see a group of children playing nicely together and think, “What thoughtful and kind children.” I like to send prayers, love, and blessings during these observations.
Now that I’ve become more aware of these silent compliments, I encourage myself to speak them aloud–to validate them even more. If we delve more deeply, can’t we recognize these simple blessings as acts of love?
On the contrary, isn’t it true that if you pay close attention to the inner workings of your mind, that you’ll also become aware of how much we judge and criticize one another? Oh, yes. I hear all sorts of stuff—”Am I as fat as she is?” “He thinks he’s so smart but he’s just an asshole.” “What the hell is wrong with her?” I hear all that stuff, too.
The difference is to catch yourself in the act and rework your thought. Turn it into a loving and compassionate one. “She’s probably trying just as hard as I am to lose weight,” “He has a beautiful and vulnerable heart,” and “We are all trying to seek peace even when we make wrong choices.” Do you get my point?