To validate is to recognize, establish, or illustrate worth.
“I understand you.”
“I respect you.”
“I hear you.”
“Your opinions matter.”
“You have worth.”
We all long to hear these things. We all long to be validated. You can validate another person regardless of whether you agree with their opinions. Validating another person just means that you listen to what they are saying and legitimize their feelings- even if you disagree.
One of the most effective ways to de-escalate an angry person is to stay calm and validate their concerns. After the angry person vents and feels heard, they will usually calm down.
Try this: “I understand that this has made you really angry.”
Rather than:“WHAT ARE YOU SO ANGRY ABOUT?!!
One of the most effective ways to establish open communication with your child is to validate their feelings. By acknowledging their feelings, you increase the likelihood that they will tell you more. Trust me, this is a good thing. When difficult feelings go underground and get swept under the rug, they do not go away. They reappear in unhealthy ways.
Try this: “I can see that really hurt you.”
Rather than: “What are you so upset about? Don’t be such a baby.”
One of the most effective ways to make your partner feel loved is to validate them. You are not necessarily agreeing with them, but you are recognizing their worth.
Try this: “I understand that this really bothers you.”
Rather than: “I can’t believe that you are upset over that!”
One of the most effective ways to get your children to believe in themselves, is to validate them. When you tell a child that they shouldn’t feel a certain way, you have not changed the way that they feel. You have only created confusion and doubt within the child.
Try this: “That must have really hurt.”
Rather than: “What is wrong with you? You shouldn’t feel that way.”
The importance of validating a child is huge. The implications of growing up in an invalidating environment are many. Take a look at Samantha. Samantha’s feelings were dismissed for years. When Samantha fell down, her mother told her that the fall did not hurt. It hurt. When her father came home in a drunken rage, her mother told her that it was nothing to worry about. Samantha was worried. And when Samantha told her mother that she was scared, her mother told her that she was ridiculous. Was she?
Ten years later, Samantha begins to date Ron. One evening, Ron hits Samantha. When Samantha becomes upset, Ron tells Samantha that she is making a big deal over nothing. Although being hit feels like a big deal to Samantha, she can’t trust her feelings and defers to Ron. Maybe it is not such a big deal, she rationalizes. Samantha stays with Ron. Had Samantha been taught that her feelings were valid, she may have left Ron after being hit the first time.
Remember, when you validate another, you are saying, “Your thoughts and feelings are important. They have value. You have value.”
- How to Switch Off an Angry Person (psychcentral.com)
- What I’ve Learned from Life…Anger is Pain in Disguise (velindapeyton.com)
- Love or dependency (letlifeinpractices.com)