Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Believing In The Power Of You

In my previous piece “Validation – The First Step Starts With Us“, I spoke of how giving praise or showing appreciation to others serves to validate what people intuitively know about themselves, that it creates the understanding that they are being recognized for what they do or how they feel.  While the piece gave rise to some wonderful comments and discussions here on this blog and elsewhere, it also brought to light some interesting experiences relating to the act of acknowledging those around us.  After reading my piece on validation, some of my readers shared with me their stories of showing appreciation to others and how the reactions they received from the act were mostly that of indifference and in some cases even wariness or suspicion.

These experiences understandably left them doubting their ability to offer validation to those around them, if not the value of their words and actions.  It also left a few of them asking the question of how can one help validate others if they don’t value what you’re trying to offer.  To answer this question, I want to first look at two reasons why the act of offering praise or appreciation is not having any beneficial effect on those receiving it.

It’s not you . . . it’s someone else

In my post about validation, I pointed out that the act of validating someone cannot be accomplished simply by tossing out some generic compliment.  Instead, the act of validation stems from being recognized for who we are and what we contribute.  In some circumstances, though, the ability to feel validated is also dependent on who we receive these words of praise or appreciation from.  For some, being told that their work is outstanding might not be as meaningful or needed coming from a co-worker as it would be if it came from their boss.  Similarly, being told by a friend how caring you are might be of small comfort if they’re not getting the same recognition from those they are more intimately involved with.

In such situations, it’s not a reflection or indication of an inability to offer validation to others as it is simply the result of the fact that these individuals need to get that recognition from someone other that us.

Lingering doubts from past experiences

While the point above addresses why some people might react with indifference to our comments of praise or appreciation, what about those who encountered reactions of suspicions of some ulterior motive being at play?  Again, the answer can be found by examining the situation in terms of the individual’s relationships with others, in particular those from their past.

Over course of our lives, we become involved in a large number of relationships of a variety of types.  We develop relationships as part of our professional lives, others that serve as friendships or general acquaintances and then there are those we foster that are of a romantic nature.  All of these relationships help to build a guide for us of the kinds of interactions and benefits we can achieve and offer to others.  Inevitably, some of these relationships end up creating bitter moments or painful memories, particularly when the relationship was one where we found some validation in ourselves but which ended up leaving us feeling emotionally wounded.   Unfortunately for some people, the collapse of such relationships can end up leaving them with doubts or suspicions over receiving words of acknowledgment or praise out of fear that they might once again be hurt in the process of opening themselves to accepting such gestures.  As was the case above, this negative reaction to our attempts to recognize the contributions of others is not a consequence of our actions; instead, it’s merely a sign of more deeper, unresolved issues in the person we wish to show appreciation for.

So, where does this leave us?  Is the ability to offer validation to others a lot more challenging than we might think?  Certainly, no one can deny the complexity that exists at times in daily human interactions.  However, the truth still remains that we each have within us the power to impact others, to allow others to feel through our words and actions that they are understood and appreciated.  In the case of those who shared their stories, while they may have encountered people who couldn’t appreciate their gestures of gratitude, the simple truth for all of us to learn is that we can’t expect to be able to offer validation to everyone we know, nor should we think we can.  But these instances shouldn’t dissuade us from embracing the power that exists in all of us to tell those who do look to us for recognition and acceptance just how much we value them.

Whether or not our words of praise will benefit the person we offer it to doesn’t change the fact that the ability to validate others exists in all of us and that power is best served when its shared with as many as we possibly can.

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4 Comments » | Tags: , , , , , , | October 15, 2009 by |

4 Comments
  1. On October 17th, 2009 at 10:54 AM Jackie Ng said:

    Hey Tanveer!

    Oops. You did it again. Awesome post! 😀

    Last week, after telling you that some people I know feel awkward when I give compliments. Well, I thought about it and decided that I will say them – despite everything, whether they like it or not. Whether they respond or not. The only thing I can control is how I chose to treat people. I sometimes feel sad for people who cannot receive or give praises. Because I do not necessarily see selfishness in them but only pain, lack of love in their past or present lives. A happy heart will give without second thoughts.

    Thanks Tanveer. You inspire me so much to lead a meaningful life and adopt an attitude that will heal and uplift. From now on, I will call you Master Tanveer instead of Captain.

  2. On October 17th, 2009 at 1:25 PM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Hi Jackie,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad to hear that I can help inspire you to improve your life and it’s nice to know that I can play such a positive role in that process.

    It was wonderful to see so many people reaching out after reading my piece on validation and sharing their stories of the difficulties they had with giving praise to others. It’s not a pleasant situation to have to face, but the fact that they took the time to share their experiences indicates a desire to make a change.

    Hopefully when they read this piece, as well as your own conclusions in dealing with such circumstances, they will appreciate that the ability to inspire and motivate others exists in all of us. We just need to keep giving ourselves the opportunity to catch the wind in those sails.

    Thanks again, Jackie, for your generous compliment and for sharing your experience.

  3. On September 22nd, 2010 at 5:04 AM Azim Mustafa said:

    Superb

  4. On September 22nd, 2010 at 9:41 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Thanks Azim. I'm glad you enjoyed this piece.