Validation in a World full of Negativity

Hey y’all it’s Wednesday!!! So that means it is time to fellowship. Fellowship always seems to fall on a Wednesday am I right? Why is that do you think? I have an idea but that’s a topic for another post. 🙂

I was awakened this morning about 2:30 AM and during that time I perused my social media. Nothing abnormal there, happens every day just about. I came across a post on FB of a subject that I told myself I would not write about here on my blog. However, I noticed something about this post that really made me feel compelled to talk about it for one major reason, VALIDATION.

I am all about encouraging one another. In a world full of hate, hurt and discouragement it takes no effort and cost nothing to encourage/validate someone. Why be hateful, hurtful, and downright mean? What does one benefit from being this way, and what benefit is it to the subject of one’s rudeness?

Filled with so many questions, let me set the scene. I follow a page on FB that is mostly about recipes and fun stuff you can do with your kiddos, but for some reason yesterday they shared an article about Fibromyalgia and how to cope with some of the symptoms that come along with it. This isn’t their normal type of posts, but it attracted me. I myself suffer from fibromyalgia and I do not share this to throw a pity party but because I have been on both sides of the comment debate that ensued from this article.

A simple article that was meant to be informative and hopefully of some help to someone, resulted in anger, hate filled comments, name calling and slinging around of cusswords. Some comments were “I suffer from this and it is really debilitating” and others were to the effect of “these lazy, fat, unhealthy eating people just want narcotics and a disability check instead of exercising and eating healthy.” Why? Just, why? What purpose did that nasty comment serve?

To be honest I wish I could say with a pure heart I have never said or thought those things myself, but I have. What did I gain from it? Nothing I was just being a jerk. Did it help the other person? Ummm no!  It is very like me to have to experience things for myself before I actually believe them, and this time was no different. Until I couldn’t make it through a trip to the grocery store without leaving in tears from not being able to walk, I didn’t understand. Until I was told with a straight face by a person close to me, that I just needed to LOVE myself more and my pain would go away, I didn’t understand. Let me share this with you, there is nothing more belittling to a person you care about, than to dismiss a health issue that they have because you don’t know about it or understand it. This isn’t limited to just fibromyalgia, it could include: depression, bi-polar, other mental health issues, or any health issue for that matter.

I feel like I could give 101 examples of how I have been discouraging to friends when they have reached out to me. I didn’t understand their situation, feelings, or choices. So I chimed in with my 2 cents thinking what I had to say might help. I am aware now how I hurt those relationships because they weren’t looking for my thoughts and experiences. But I am a fixer, so I wanted to fix their problems with my advice. All they were seeking was an open ear and validation.

Let me differentiate between validating one’s situation, behavior or feelings and condoning it.  Condoning means you allow and accept it. Validating means you to support the truth or value of. You can validate your friend’s feelings without condoning them. Besides, who are we to say that our friend does or does not actually feel a certain way? We do not live inside their body or mind so we cannot say that the way they feel is not real just because we don’t understand it or haven’t experienced it. Our friends (insert category here, family, co-worker) feelings are theirs, it belongs to them, if they share it with us it is not our place to tell them they are wrong. It is however our place to encourage them. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Paul writes, “So encourage each other and build each other up.”

I know I went all over the place today, but let me leave you with this. You only know and understand feelings and circumstances according to YOUR life experiences. Please don’t belittle and invalidate someone else’s feelings and circumstances that you don’t understand. That only builds a wall around them, your relationship and adds to their pain. Just because we haven’t experienced something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

What do you validate a friends feelings without necessarily condoning it? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below!

*Objective viewpoints are accepted, however if a negative comment is directed towards a person/group, not the topic if will be immediately deleted and commenter will be blocked.

The Meaning of Life

It’s Faith Friday Y’all!

Today I wanted to talk about a question that came up in a recent street interview I participated in. Last weekend while out of town at a business conference (shout out Christy Wright’s Business Boutique), I was approached by a group that has a YouTube channel, Wisdom Sandwich. They ask strangers philosophical questions and meld them all together into a series. The question I want to discuss is, “What is the meaning to life?”

If you would have asked me this, pretty much any of my teenage through adult life, my answer was always: for learning. But learning what, when, at what point do you know you’re finished learning, and do you die after you “learn enough?” That was it, the end of my answer. Not a very thought out response if you ask me, yet no one ever has.

On this particular day, though I had a new answer, well kind of. My answer was, to serve one another. Life is about learning, including learning to serve one another. Serving someone doesn’t have to be a big monumental event and it doesn’t have to cost a penny or even take that much time out of our day. It can be something as simple as a smile, a “hey lovely blouse”, or helping someone pick up something they dropped on the ground. Sure serving someone could mean bigger more costly things, and if you have the ability and the heart to do those things by all means, do them, but only do it if you will not be bitter afterward!

Serving one another doesnt have to be some monumental event. Read more at www.forbeetsak.com

In 2 Corinthians 9:7 it says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” So if your neighbor needs to borrow a cup of sugar for the umpteenth time, and you give it to them out of neighborly obligation, yet you shut the door roll your eyes and make a snide comment about how you just ran into them at the grocery store last Saturday, why the heck didn’t they get their own sugar! Then you aren’t being a cheerful giver and it is better to say you don’t have any extra, than to give bitterly. I say this because in the verse just before in 2 Corinthians 9:6 Paul writes to the church, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” So when we give that cup of sugar to our neighbor with bitterness, we are reaping bitterness.

I digress, back to the topic, learning to serve one another. We are each children of God, and if you are a parent, especially of multiple children, we can understand how God feels about serving one another. I don’t know about you, but I get filled with JOY when I see my children helping one another. I even used to have a reward system for that in my house. If I catch my kiddos doing something kind without being asked, I give them a “Mom Buck.” They can save them up to buy something they want at the store later on or cash in for candy right away. Either way I am happy my children are being nice without me forcing them to, and they are happy their efforts were recognized. I know God delights when we, his children, are being kind and serving one another.

Just like God, when I see my children serve one another I am filled with joy. Read more at www.forbeetsake.com

Even Jesus himself says in Matthew 20:28, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus got down on his knees and washed his disciples’ feet! I don’t know about you but if my friends and I had been walking for days on end on dirt roads, wearing sandals, I most certainly wouldn’t want to look at their feet. Let alone kneel down next to them, smelling and touching them. Eww, just eww. But Jesus, King of all the world, Son of God, our Savior knelt down and washed some dirty, nasty feet. Not once, but 12 times! And they didn’t have pedicures back in those days’ ladies. So they were crusty too I am sure.

Jesus, King of all the world, Son of God, our Savior knelt down and washed some dirty, nasty feet. Read more at www.forbeetsake.com

All this is to say, if our Lord and Savior can kneel and wash some dirty stinky feet, with a cheerful heart, we can smile, or drop a simple comment to lift the hearts and brighten the days of others. See each day, encounter, or experience as an opportunity to serve one another. You leave nothing behind when you die, but the memories others have of how you made them feel. Make beautiful memories and ask God for opportunities to serve one another, not only will their life be transformed but yours also.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the ONLY purpose to life is learning to serve each other, but it sure is a large part of it. 🙂

What do you think the purpose to life is? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below!

*Objective viewpoints are accepted, however if a negative comment is directed towards a person/group, not the topic if will be immediately deleted and commenter will be blocked.