They are great days when someone takes time from their day to talk with you, listen to you, or simply to just spend time with you. This makes us feel validation. Yet all too often, people with medical conditions feel left out and forgotten by friends and even some family members.
The basic definition of validation means to recognize or to approve. It’s such a simple idea, really. To give someone validation is an act of recognition…I recognize you. I see you. I hear you.
So if acts of recognition are such simple things, why do some people find them so difficult? The answer, as it is in many things, is fear. Thankfully, however, there is a solution. We can make things better for ourselves while making them better for others? That’s where the PAV comes in – Powerful Acts of Validation.
Jackie and I spent a lot of time putting together a little book entitled Traces of a Hero. In one of our writing/editing sessions, she shared some of the problems that Tracy encountered with a few friends and acquaintances. For whatever reason, they lost communication with her. It was a sad thing for Jackie and Tracy to experience, so Jackie came up with a solution for others that may feel stuck in that place of fear and missing out on wonderful relationships.
As a way to pay it forward and to help people embrace a positive future, Jackie created a list of PAV’s – Powerful Acts of Validation – easy ways for people to show they care. Here are some of them (in no particular order):
Powerful act of validation #1: Talk with them. Instead of walking past or giving a quick wave, walk up and say hello and strike up a conversation. You don’t have to ask how they have been. One of the reasons that people feel awkward in those moments is because they don’t know what to say and they don’t want to say the wrong thing, but saying something is better than nothing at all. After all what good comes from not acknowledging someone when they are standing in your presence? It’s a win-win situation to acknowledge them. Along this same line is to talk with the person and not to their medical condition.
Powerful act of validation #2: If you are normally someone that had previously spent a lot of time with them, then do that again. Don’t just talk about it, especially if you have no intention of doing it. Follow through with it. If they are not up to it, they will let you know.
Powerful act of validation #3: Send warm wishes to let them know you’ve been thinking of them. If you were close with them, but you now don’t know how to react, you can always stay in touch by sending a card, an email message, or text. These are easy ways to communicate without a lot of interaction, but at least they know that you still care about them, even if you don’t always know what to say. Here are some ideas on how to begin if you are at a loss of words:
Powerful act of validation #4: Don’t tell them to call you if they need you because, more than likely, they will not do it. People tend not to ask for help. Call them instead. Ask if they need anything from the store; ask if you can ride them somewhere or maybe get a movie and hang out with them. If they are not up to it, they will let you know.
Powerful act of validation #5: Express in person or in writing how they have helped you or made things meaningful for you. We tell teachers, coaches, parents, celebrities, etc. what they did for us or how they inspired us, but there are others, the quiet and unsung heroes, that deserve our recognition, too.
Powerful act of validation #6: Last, but not least, pay it forward. Once you’ve learned and been able to incorporate these gems of wisdom into your life, share them with others who could use your knowledge or are struggling. Even small acts can get a lot of mileage.
Tracy being held up by her friends and family.
PAV’s have the power to create happiness and that will have a positive impact on everyone involved. So don’t be a stranger. Say goodbye to your fear and find ways to reconnect with your friends or family.
PR Manager and Story Writer