Validate them

Do any of these conversations sound familiar?

"I'm nervous about the test."

"You don't have anything to be nervous about."

"I need to lose 10 pounds."

"No you don't, but I need to."

"I'm not as patient and loving with my kids as I'd like to be."

"You're a great parent!"

"I"m so upset about that experience."

"Well, let me tell you about my experience."

"I'm really struggling."

"You seem to have it all together!"

It's amazing how often we don't let people feel the way they feel, isn't it? Chances are there have been times you were trying to share and you felt unheard, ignored, one-upped, or dismissed. And times you've made others feel this way. Sometimes we're so eager to make someone feel better we don't realize we're making them feel worse.

One of the definitions of validation is "recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile."

What's the easiest validate someone? Pay attention. Ask questions. Connect.

"I'm nervous about the test."

"What part are you most nervous about?"

"I need to lose 10 pounds."

"Me too! Want to help each other?"

"I'm not as patient and loving with my kids as I'd like to be."

"I'm surprised to hear you say that. What's making you feel that way?"

"I'm so upset about that experience."

"I can understand why you would be. Do you want to talk about it?"

"I'm really struggling."

"What's going on?" "How can I help?"

Of course there is no one-size-fits-all approach. You have to modify your responses based on the person, your relationship and the situation. But telling someone their experience isn't real or disputing their statement will rarely, if ever be helpful.

Validate them.

Photo by Joshua Clay on Unsplash

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