April 16, 2024

Emotional validation is a key component to healthy communication. It’s about acknowledging and accepting their feelings without judgment, creating a safe space for vulnerability.

When someone shares something vulnerable with you, they want to know that it matters. Invalidating their feelings can make them feel alone and shut down the conversation or cause further distress.
Listening

Listening is a complex process that involves a variety of affective, cognitive, and behavioral components. Whether you are talking to a co-worker, friend, spouse, child, cashier, pastor, or any other person, listening requires your full attention and engagement. This can be difficult because it requires you to turn off distractions, make eye contact, and respond appropriately to the person’s words and actions.

Listening can also include observing, acknowledging and validating the person’s feelings, even when you don’t agree with them. This can help to create an environment of emotional safety, allowing you and the person to work together towards solutions. For example, if a person is upset about you coming home late from work, your reaction could be to validate her feelings and let her know that you are invested in the situation. This is a critical component of an approach to emotional validation called dialectical behavior therapy. This is a type of talk therapy that is especially helpful for people who experience intense emotions.
Reflecting

Reflecting is one of the most important skills to master in emotional validation. It involves rephrasing what the other person says to make sure you understand them and that they feel heard. Psychologists use this strategy to cultivate clarity and build a solid therapeutic alliance with their clients.

For example, if your partner is expressing anger, you could say something like, “You seem pretty upset over that. It sounds like you’re feeling mad, even though I know the reason you’re mad doesn’t justify the way you’re acting.”

This shows that you are recognizing their feelings and emotions and that you are not judging them. It also demonstrates empathy and understanding, which can help to prevent and reduce conflict. It’s a good idea to avoid giving advice or minimizing their feelings, however. These kinds of responses can shut down a conversation and cause them to feel misunderstood or rejected. Instead, try asking questions that encourage them to elaborate further on their feelings and experiences and find a solution as a team.
Acknowledging

If someone is struggling with negative feelings and you validate their emotions, they may experience relief and a sense of being heard. This is why it is important to learn how to do emotional validation. Emotional validation involves acknowledging and expressing empathy for another person’s feelings. It also involves demonstrating support by listening, addressing concerns, and being a supportive presence.

However, it is essential to note that validating someone’s emotions and feelings does not mean agreeing with their point of view, condoning harmful behavior or pitying them. When we invalidate someone, they receive the message that their feelings are wrong or irrational. This can lead to feelings of anger and resentment within relationships.

To genuinely validate a person’s emotions, you must focus on listening with empathy and ensuring that you are giving them your full attention. This means turning off the TV, putting your phone away, and facing them when they are speaking to you.
Supporting

When a person is sharing their distressing emotions, they need to feel that they are being understood and supported. This can be achieved by listening attentively and showing that you are following their story. For example, nodding, making eye contact, and keeping your body turned towards the speaker are all great ways to show that you are listening.

Emotional validation can also be demonstrated by expressing empathy for the person’s feelings. This can be done by saying things like “I can see why you would feel that way”, “It sounds awful”, or “You’re right, it is pretty terrible”.

Using emotional validation in your relationship can help to foster mutual understanding and empathy, reduce defensiveness, and strengthen relationships. It is a skill that everyone can learn and practice to improve their emotional connections with others. Practicing it can help to create a more supportive and understanding environment, as well as help to regulate our own emotions.Emotional validation in relationships

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