Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
One of our most basic human needs is positive, meaningful connections with other people. Within those connections we also need to give and receive three irreplaceable gifts.
Validation is simply agreement that what one has or is experiencing matters. No judgment is necessary.
Validation is crucial, especially when it comes to overcoming emotional pain. A psychologist told me he has “never really seen anyone be able to move on without validation.”
In the face of someone’s expression of emotions (even if these emotions seem confusing), it is validating to say, “That makes sense.” We can always agree that if we shared this person’s perceptive, we might have similar feelings.
As we listen to stories of lived experiences, “I believe you” or “sounds like a big deal” are validating. Once again, if we doubt the details, we can agree that to the one speaking, it is a big deal.
Investment in one’s value
To feel valued, we need to know sweet words will be backed by selfless action. A superficial connection may have warm and fuzzy feelings in it. It may have sexual pleasure and promises. Anyone can carelessly say, ‘You mean so much to me.’
Investment in our value is much rarer. A person who is willing to believe in us, and who offers time and energy toward our best interests, is investing in our value. It is our worth, not usefulness, that keeps him or her involved. Someone who values you this much will also draw healthy boundaries.
Sincere, non-critical acceptance embraces others merely as members of humanity. It separates a person’s right to choose from his or her specific behaviors.
Sincere acceptance comes from the heart. It does not play games. It says, “I recognize you are you and I am me. We do not have to be the same for me to respect your right to choose.” Non-critical acceptance focuses on a person’s innate value and does not try to force change.
We can embrace a person without sharing their values. Love is still our choice if faced with another’s difficult situation or personality. Acceptance is not lack of boundaries; it simply refuses to hate.
Our mutual human need for meaningful connection is met by one beautiful Biblical teaching. Romans 12:14 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Practicing this validates experiences and emotions. It invests in human value. Finally, it accepts people without judgment.
Let’s learn to be like that to each other.
Today’s Helpful Word
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you,
in order to bring praise to God.”
***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.