How to Practice Validating Other People

Jan 16, 2023 by

How to Practice Validating Other People

Validating another person means that you recognize and accept the other person’s thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviors as understandable, even if you disagree with what they do or say. This entails listening and responding to the other person nonjudgmentally.

The process of validation involves responding to another person with language that conveys acceptance and understanding.
You can validate the feeling: “I can see why that made you sad” “I can see why you are so angry” “I understand why you feel overwhelmed“ “What you are going through must be difficult” etc.

You can summarize what the person is saying: “When your friend did X, you felt X” “That must have been hard, going all the way to X and X refused to see you” “Getting fired is never fun” “I understand why you got a divorce” etc.

You can use language that simply conveys understanding: “I think I understand how you feel, even though I have never been in this position” “I would have done the same thing if X happened to me” “Can you tell me more so that I can understand the situation better?”
Listening, accepting, supporting, encouraging, respecting, trusting and negotiating differences are validating responses.

It takes practice to validate another person. It is probably best to start by not invalidating other people. Invalidating other people happens when you do not listen to them; when you try to coach them when they do not ask for advice; when you make them feel guilty for something they have said or done; or when you negate them by reacting negatively to them when they are vulnerable. Criticizing, judging, blaming, nagging, complaining, punishing and bribing are tactics that usually lead to another person feeling invalidated.


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