Validating

Of course, you care about your spouse.

Of course, you care about what they are experiencing and feeling and thinking.  So VALIDATE them.

Validating is recognizing and accepting another person’s inner experience as being valid.

Even if you don’t agree with it or approve of it, you still acknowledge that it is their experience.  It’s non judgmental.

And that is a powerful relationship booster.

Validation communicates that the other person is  important to you and you care about their thoughts
 and feelings and experiences.

Validation also shows the other person that you are there for them.

Validation is never about lying. Or agreeing.

It is simply about accepting and respecting.

How to validate

It’s all in your intent. It will come out in your words. And in your body language.

IMPORTANT! As much as 70 percent of our communication is nonverbal. Pay close attention to the other person’s tone of voice and body language to better understand them.

When validating, always use the highest level possible – as applicable to the situation and your own experiences.

Practice is the key to making validation a natural part of the way you communicate.

Your relationship is worth it!


A: ——
B: Without even saying a word, I feel that s/he really cares.

Listening with your whole mind and doing nothing but listening, in a nonjudgmental way. Listening with empathy. Really paying attention.


A: So what I’m hearing is that  when your boss said XYZ, you felt that your work isn’t appreciated.
B: I feel that s/he cares about me.


Nonjudgmentally, summarizing what you have heard the other person say. Truly understanding it without any judgments and interpretations.

A: I can see you’re upset about this.
B: S/he gets me.


Guessing what another person might be feeling, thinking or wanting, by noticing their emotional state.

A: It makes sense that you’d feel that way given the memories it triggers.
B: S/he really understands me.


Understanding the other person’s feelings and thoughts based on the context of past experiences, their values, personality, physiological conditions (hungry, bad mood,  etc.).



A: It is  normal to be feeling that way in this situation.
B: So relieved that s/he doesn’t think I’m crazy for feeling this way.


Validating their feelings as reasonable in the moment.


A: I also feel that way sometimes.
B: Whew. I’m not the only one.


Self disclosing about your own painful, vulnerable, or sensitive experience that may parallel what our partner is coping with, to reassure them.

End Notes

 

A: This opportunity is so exciting for you.
B: S/he is happy for me.

Sometimes, a shorter validation is all that is needed. You can say just a few words so as not to interrupt their talking.

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