Wednesday, May 13, 2020

We must remember that we are okay

We must remember that we are okay. 

Vandijk’s research on calming the emotional storm identifies a subtle phenomenon called an invalidating environment. 

It’s where we are taught that our emotions are wrong inappropriate or not okay. The underlying message is to not feel what we are feeling. 

Like the hyper critical parent who offers an infuriating nonstop commentary on our shortcomings. Or the insensitive teacher who tells us that getting angry is not okay. Or the older sibling who rolls his eyes and berates us any time we try to share an opinion. 

As children, these invalidating environments can cause our feelings to be increasingly foreign and scary and confusing to us. Because we don’t know any better. 

However, as adults, the same invalidation can rear its ugly head once again. Perhaps from a boss, peer, coworker or spouse.

And in that moment, the first thing we must do is remember that we are okay. 

We know that whatever that person is doing to us has probably been done to them. And we trust that whatever bile they are spewing in our mouths is more of a reflection of their insides than our outsides. 

When someone is mean to us, we must remember that we are okay. 

When someone invalidates our perceptions and discounts our being and nullifies our feelings, we must remember that we are okay. 

And when someone refuses to accept our internal experience as valid and understandable, we must remember that we are okay. 

What invalidator lurks in the dark corners of your mind and tells you that you are not enough?