Updated: Mar 7
Learning how to VALIDATE in the most effective way was one of the most potent life-changing tools I discovered in my relationships.
I used to think I was validating my loved one's feelings by diminishing what they were really feeling and then trying to fix their problem, but all that did was make things worse.
I thought I had to agree with why they were so upset, but that wasn't the case at all. We can validate someone's feelings and emotions without understanding why they feel the way they do. My epiphany was when I realized that THEIR TRUTH, or how they are feeling, is THEIR TRUTH and my truth is my truth. Just because I don't understand why something upsets my loved one doesn't mean it isn't real for them. And it's important to realize that they are feeling what they are feeling, and telling them that "everything will be fine" isn't always the best way to approach this situation. And there are times when we don't have to try and "fix" the problem for them either. Sometimes the resolution is to validate their emotions and say, for example…."I can see how upset you are, and this must be really important to you. I am here for you if you need me." And if they are willing to talk about it, just listen and show genuine compassion but don't force them to talk about it. Give them whatever space they need.
Effective validation is like a magical tool and can create less stress for everyone. Some situations will require the two of you to come up with a resolution together. Sometimes just validating your loved one's emotions is all that's needed because once they feel heard, they usually come up with their solution.
This one simple tweak was so incredibly LIFE-CHANGING in my relationship with one of my loved ones. It was one of the biggest reasons our relationship finally healed years of turmoil, grief, and anger, and we became closer than we had ever been before. And I can proudly say years later, we have a much deeper love and connection with each other, and every day our relationship grows even stronger.
Validating genuinely and authentically takes practice, so remember to have compassion for yourself and learn this new way of being in a relationship.