Updated: May 10
I was thinking about the process you go through after a spiritual session for an article I was writing for Arcana Herbal. This is a special window of time and it's very beneficial when spent mindfully, but it’s important to know that it’s common to feel a little vulnerable, a little out of touch with reality after hearing messages from our guides. And as I was writing the article, offering suggestions, tips, and information on what to do after a spiritual session - like a tarot reading, energy healing, a birth chart reading, etc. - my mind kept circling back to that common vulnerable feeling, and more importantly, where does it come from? And of course while I was working on both of the articles, Mars was at 28° of Gemini and was still very much activating my natal Gemini Mars, which basically means the more I thought about the concept, the more I dug deeper into examining why we would feel so innately uncomfortable in receiving powerful validation. Why does confirmation from our ancestors and guides leave us feeling so overwhelmed?
When I try to get to the root of something, I often reflect on my relationship with my daughter. It gives me insight into how my mind was working at that age, as well as what the response process was like for my parents. Therefore, I can start to theorize about where common behavioral patterns can begin in childhood. And that’s when it started to hit me. For most of us, we have been taught the opposite of validation from a young age. And when I tell you this is common, I mean it. This is a massively shared experience regardless of what your childhood looked like. From extreme trauma to parents and guardians who are genuinely doing their best, the situation looks a little like this:
The Commonly Missed Opportunity
a play by That Witch, Dani
Parent (or guardian or caregiver; an adult or grown person who is responsible for their child’s safety and also abides by the human conception and laws of time).
Child (the offspring or younger person in relation to the Parent, who is in the constant exploration and learning processes. Typically they are completely unaware/apathetic to safety, as well as the human conception and laws of time).
The Child is currently participating in a behavior that is incongruent with safety or time limitations. The Parent, out of both reflex and instinct, interferes in order to redirect the action. A conversation then takes place.
Parent: No! Stop , you can’t do that because .
Child: *communicates either verbally, physically, or both, but essentially expresses the following* But this is interesting to me. This is new and I would like to continue and so I am going to either continue doing so until you physically prevent me or I am going to express my extreme displeasure.
Parent: *typically physically intervening and preventing behavior at this point* I’m sorry, but you just cannot do . It’s not safe/we do not have time/it’s not an appropriate time and/or place.
Child: *expresses extreme displeasure*
And from this point the Parent makes one of many choices. They can redirect or distract the Child, step back/walk away and allow the Child to self-soothe their displeasure, allow the Child to continue the undesirable behavior, or physically prevent them (hopefully safely and appropriately; like physically taking them down from climbing up a bookshelf) from continuing the behavior.
But rarely, very rarely does the Parent say, “I completely understand how frustrating/upsetting/confusing it is that you’re not able to do that anymore/right now.”
This is a concept I was first introduced to on the Big Little Feelings site: let the child know that their feelings are okay and valid. When I started studying conscious parenting, it was this communication style that set off countless connections for me. I started understanding our behaviors as adults or more-grown people much better because I know how many of us were parented. I also started to truly, and I mean truly understand the importance of validation. So while I was composing my thoughts on the Arcana Herbal blog, it dawned on me that because we so rarely receive affirmation of our experiences during our most exploratory, impressionable stages, we feel almost triggered when our spiritual team shows up so intensely and says, "Everything you've experienced and how that made you feel then and how it makes you feel now? Yeah, not only is that okay and valid, but it's part of your soul's journey."
What is so powerful about validation?
Affirmation, confirmation, validation, etc. are all words I am using interchangeably in this post. Validating another person’s experience and perspective is the antidote to gaslighting. Gaslighting is a manipulative form of behavior in which the other person is made to question their reality or sanity. Gaslighting, while a toxic behavior, is not always used consciously. It’s a form of communication that has been taught to many of us during fundamental stages of our lives, many times from individuals we love and respect. It is one of the most common traits of an abuser and very much can and has been used in brainwashing and manipulating victims of abuse, but it’s important to note that each of us have the ability and sometimes even tendency to gaslight others. In other words, all abusers gaslight, but not everyone who gaslights is an abuser. Usually we do this as a way to avoid guilt when we may be starting to (subconsciously) understand that we may be in the wrong.
But when we validate each other, each party is able to achieve greater understanding. The communication itself becomes much more effective because both people feel seen, supported, heard, and respected. You may not be understood, but you should still be respected. This is breaking the gaslighting cycle, this is building healthy and effective communication skills. You’ll both walk away with greater perspective and understanding for the subject matter because you’ll have actually listened to and absorbed each other’s perspective. It’s not about which experience is better or worse. It’s not about which experience was easier or more challenging. Effective communication is simply about a greater understanding of both experiences. And effective communication can have an infinite plethora of benefits that stem and bloom from even one conversation between just two people.
“I recognize and hear your frustration. You are valid.” Let’s start with the most straight-forward tip: tell them they are valid! You can affirm their current experience and past experiences.
“I understand your feelings right now. I am also experiencing these feelings.” Limit saying, “I understand you, but…” and shift this slightly to remove the word “but,” which at a certain point can start to negate the other person’s point of view.
"We both have the same end goal, and we are both valid in our differing ideas in reaching it." Recognize when there is a common goal. Both parties can agree on the same outcome and have different ideas and views on how to get there. This can pull you both out of a reactive state and help you to remember the bigger picture at hand.
“I’ve never experienced that before, so thank you for sharing that with me. I probably wouldn’t have looked at it from that perspective otherwise.” Acknowledging your own lack of experience or understanding does not negate your point of view but instead expands it!
“I value your opinion, views, and insight.” Let them know their perspective is important and valid, and that you’re grateful for the discussion - even when things are rocky.
*NOTE: These are tips for conversations where you are being respected. In no way do I encourage you to remain in a conversation where you are being bullied, berated, harassed, spoken down to, or being disrespected in any way. You always have the permission to close and walk away from a conversation or discussion with a toxic individual or toxic behavior.
So what do we do with all of this? Why should we validate? What is the benefit and what is its role spiritually?
A *quality* spiritual session is a form of validation.
Your guides, ancestors, intuition, and higher self will validate and confirm what needs to be validated and confirmed. Sometimes they'll validate you, sometimes they'll confirm another person's experience, sometimes they'll affirm a current path; it can vary widely.
I want to use astrology as an example. When we study our charts or we have them read, you will discover an explanation, a deeper meaning and root from which your personal qualities arise. You’ll learn why you were always drawn to your passion, why you faced certain challenges others didn’t, why you’ve always presented yourself the way you have, and so much more. And the whole time part of you will be thinking, “Oh! That’s where it comes from!” while simultaneously another part of you will be thinking, “Yep, I definitely know that about myself.” You already know because you’re in the process of being spiritually validated! Part of the process isn’t about learning new information, it’s about confirming what is already there so you can understand it on a deeper level.
And just like we talked about how validation can make for better, more effective communication, and its resulting benefits, the same is true spiritually. When we receive confirmation from the Universe or our spiritual team, it makes us feel seen, heard, supported, and respected. Which in turn makes us more open and receptive to spiritual guidance, strengthens our bond with Spirit, and from there the benefits really are boundless.
As I’ve sat with these thoughts over the last couple of weeks, I’ve become even more mindful and observant of the concept of spiritual validation, and the larger point here: the importance of validation in general. I’m implementing these ideas more and more, and so quickly I’ve already been able to witness the great value this practice can provide. It’s a really beautiful experience to be able to validate someone and watch their reaction that follows. Know that you give nothing of yours away when you affirm someone else’s experience, you are simply part of a better cycle. We are collectively all victims of gaslighting in so many different ways, and we are all unlearning toxic communication styles and habits. Every time I stumble across healthy communication content online, my heart does a little happy dance. As we become aware we begin to unlearn, and as we begin to unlearn we start to grow. And a strong bond with our spiritual team offers incredible growth.