My life started to have more purpose, meaning, and enjoyment after a good therapist validated what I was feeling and needing and gave me the skills to do the same for myself.
On the deepest level, what I needed was respect. The word RE-spect means to look again. To take a second look.
I had learned from my culture that natural feelings such as anger, fear and sadness were not worth a second look. I was taught that these feelings were nuisances to be eliminated and were not about anything. But the harder I'd try to invalidate my emotions, the more they'd become a problem for me.
When I started giving my feelings a second look, I found that they were actually telling me what was most meaningful to me. My emotions made sense. And when I listened to my emotions, I became aware of what areas of my life I wanted to work on.
After seeing the validity of my own emotions I was able to see that every person's emotions were about what was most meaningful to them. Conflict happens when people invalidate each other's emotions.
My work now is to help individuals find the sense that their emotions make and to help couples and others resolve conflicts through becoming aware of each other's needs.
My vision is a world where respect is easy to come by.