Whether intentionally or not, sometimes people we know and even love, can belittle how we feel about ourselves or our situations. This can be very undermining and feed into feelings of low self-esteem. The message we receive is ‘you don’t matter and your thoughts, feelings and opinions are irrelevant.’ However, as an individual your perspective is entirely valid. You may have strong reactions to things that are happening around you or within your relationships that are connected to your values and beliefs. Other people may dismiss them because that is the easy thing to do. By doing this they don’t have to be challenged. They can try and claim that their perspective is correct – and perhaps it is to them. This doesn’t mean, however, that yours is any less correct for you. It can be very corrosive in a relationship not to acknowledge each other’s unique perspective. The key is to try and see things from both points of view. (I am not talking about a domestic abuse situation here). In doing this you are understanding your partner whilst at the same time holding on to what you believe to be right. Validating each other’s perspectives can be really important in finding a way forward. When you are validated your identity and experiences are being acknowledged and therefore you feel of worth. This does not mean you could never or will never change how you see things, but it does mean you are being recognised for who you are as a unique person in this moment.
In the counselling context, particularly in the person centred approach, having your perspective recognised and understood is fundamental. In this situation, your view point is the one that counts. The counsellor’s job is to join you in your outlook as far as possible. If this changes because you are changing as a result of the process and an increase in your own self-awareness, then your counsellor should see this and acknowledge this change with you. Together you can move forward towards new perspectives, but at each point you and your experiences are validated. This acknowledgement and acceptance provides the safety you need to grow, move forward and even change if that is what you want to do. Alternatively, you may want to remain the same and be valued and cherished as the very person you are in this moment and stay that way. The choice is yours.