Healing From Invalidation: Reclaim Your Worth

Jun 20, 2024

In today’s world, invalidation has become a pervasive issue affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. This feeling of being misunderstood, unheard, or belittled can have a profound impact on our mental and emotional well-being.

Understanding Invalidation

Many clients I encounter as a coach struggle with issues stemming from invalidation. This can manifest as insecurity, low self-esteem, or limiting beliefs. At its core, invalidation is a sense of being discredited, disliked, and disempowered.

The Impact of Invalidation

Chronic invalidation can lead to a cascade of negative consequences, including:

  • Loneliness and depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Substance abuse
  • Broken relationships
  • Identity crises

These negative experiences can further fuel feelings of isolation and perpetuate a cycle of negativity.

Beyond Personal Experiences: Societal Causes

While invalidation often stems from personal experiences like bullying or critical caregivers, it can also be a product of broader societal trends. The rise of social media, with its curated feeds and potential for negativity, can contribute to feelings of inadequacy. For instance, constantly comparing oneself to the carefully crafted online personas of others can lead to feelings of envy and inadequacy. Additionally, the erosion of trust in institutions like religion and government can leave individuals feeling like their voices don’t matter.

Taking Ownership: The Path to Healing

Breaking free from the shackles of invalidation requires taking ownership of your own well-being. Blaming others or falling into victimhood won’t lead to lasting change. Here are some practical steps you can take:

  • Challenge negative self-talk: When you find yourself indulging in self-criticism, pause and challenge those thoughts. Are they based on reality or are they echoes of past invalidation?
  • Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a loved one.
  • Set healthy boundaries: Don’t allow others to treat you with disrespect. Learn to say no and walk away from toxic situations.
  • Build a supportive network: Surround yourself with positive and encouraging people who make you feel valued and appreciated.

The Role of Technology and Social Media

Technology and social media, often seen as culprits, can also be tools for healing. Mindfulness practices and spiritual coaching can be accessed online, fostering self-awareness and inner peace. For example, many apps offer guided meditations and exercises to cultivate present-moment awareness and acceptance. Additionally, social media platforms can be used to connect with like-minded individuals and build positive communities. Online support groups can provide a safe space to share experiences and receive encouragement from others who understand.

Ancient Wisdom for Modern Problems

The wisdom of ancient traditions like Yoga and Vedic spirituality offers valuable insights for overcoming invalidation. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras emphasize practices like metta (loving-kindness) and karuna (compassion) to cultivate positive emotions towards oneself and others. This shift in perspective can help dissolve feelings of envy, judgment, and negativity.

Here’s an example of how Patanjali’s teachings can be applied in everyday life: Imagine a colleague receives a promotion you were hoping for. Instead of feeling resentment, practice metta by genuinely congratulating them and wishing them well. This not only benefits your colleague but also helps cultivate a sense of inner peace and acceptance within yourself.

Bridging the Generational Divide

Rebuilding trust and faith between generations is crucial. Instead of demonizing younger generations or clinging to outdated beliefs, older generations can embrace the power of technology and learn from the younger generations’ digital fluency. For instance, grandparents can ask their grandchildren to teach them how to use social media platforms to connect with friends and family. Spiritual practices and self-reflection can also help older generations shed negativity and regain respect from the youth.

A Collective Effort

Combating the invalidation epidemic requires a collective effort. By fostering understanding, embracing personal responsibility, and harnessing the power of technology for good, we can create a more connected and supportive world.

The Way Forward

  • Consider exploring mindfulness practices or spiritual coaching.
  • Utilize technology for positive connections and learning.
  • Practice empathy and compassion towards yourself and others.
  • Engage in open and honest communication across generations.
  • Remember, you are not alone. There is help and support available. Many resources are available online and in your community to help you overcome invalidation and build a more fulfilling life.

Healing Forward: Building Resilience Together

The invalidation epidemic is a complex issue with far-reaching consequences. By recognizing the signs of invalidation, understanding its root causes, and taking steps towards healing, we can empower ourselves and future generations to build a world based on mutual respect, compassion, and a sense of belonging. It’s not about erasing negative experiences but about learning to move through them with greater resilience and emotional intelligence. This journey of self-discovery and growth is a lifelong endeavor, but with the right tools and support, we can all heal from the wounds of invalidation and create a more connected and fulfilling world.

Ready to Break Free from Invalidation?

If you’re struggling with invalidation and want to build a more fulfilling life, coaching can be a powerful tool. A coach can help you:

  • Recognize the signs of invalidation in your life
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms
  • Build self-compassion and resilience
  • Cultivate stronger relationships

Take the first step towards healing today! Explore Coacharya’s coach training programs and empower yourself to create a life free from invalidation.

(Originally published on Coaching the Spirit – a LinkedIn Newsletter by Ram S. Ramanathan: Why are Our Images Shattered?)

Photo by Vero Manrique on Unsplash

Ram Ramanathan, MCC
Ram Ramanathan, MCC


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

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