Our healing powers within

17th March 2024 | Personal development

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On a recent flight from Marrakesh to London, a young man banged my head when settling into his seat in the row behind me. It hurt, so my instinctive reaction was to exclaim ‘ouch’and turn around to glare at him. He clearly was oblivious to what he’d done so I turned back to face the front feeling disgruntled and unsettled.

A few moments later I heard his friend whispering to him explaining what he had done and a subsequent exchange ensued ‘should I say sorry?’ ‘Yes’ his friend encouraged. He tapped me on my shoulder and politely acknowledged his wrong doing, sincerely apologising for not realising he’d accidentally hurt me.

Instantaneously I felt better. My nervous system calmed and I was at peace with the world once more. My head was still a little sore but that was fine because I had been seen, heard and validated. That’s all it took.

I know it’s a very minor experience, but I found it interesting how this reminded me of what takes place in the therapy room.

The power of another person taking the time to witness your experience , slow down and validate your pain can never be underestimated. It doesn’t reverse time and stop the experience, it doesn’t take the pain away and magically make everything better, but it does seem to help soothe and heal. There have been so many times clients have left the counselling session ‘feeling lighter’ or ‘more at peace’ having had me truly listen, sit with them in their sadness, anger or disappointment and share my deepest empathy for their experience.

I see it in every day relationships too, including my own. When we take time to really see and hear one another, strong emotions often dissipate, reducing the likelihood of conflict and instead fostering deeper connection.

It is particularly noticeable in children. the healing powers of a wet paper towel administered to bumps and grazes across the UK’s primary schools are as much about the adult taking the hurt seriously and tending to it with care as it is about the cold compress itself.

To have our feelings validated by another is one of our basic human needs, but the rise of our absorption of digital media can often work against this.

Technological advancements may help us feel increased connectivity to communities and individuals online, but let’s not forget to also pay attention to those in our physical presence too.  When we succumb to the temptation of multi-tasking with half our attention on the person in front of us and the other half absorbed in our phones – that is when we can miss the human cues, the valuable opportunities to really focus on each other with quality interaction.

We all have the power of validation within us, it is a rich blessing that is universally appreciated and completely free of charge. I encourage you to intentionally notice the impact of being seen, heard and validated by another has on mood and behaviour… see if you agree…

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