In yesterday’s post, we explored invalidation and how some commonly used statements are actually not helpful in the moment. Our goal is validation: When we simply allow another person their feelings, when we listen with the intent of trying to understand, we are creating space for their experience:
“Would it help to talk about it?” or “Tell me what happened.”
“Okay,” “I see,” “Yes,” – these are verbal prompts that simply let a person know that you are listening.
“How are you feeling about it?”
“What do you think about that?”
“That must have been (hard, frustrating, sad, upsetting)” – by listing the emotion, we validate the feeling.
“I imagine you are feeling pretty (hurt, dismissed, scared)”
“It’s completely understandable that you feel that way.” – this type of statement normalizes the experience, making the person feel less alone.
“I can see why this is so upsetting for you.” – a way to align with someone.
“What is your gut feeling about this?” – a good way to move towards solution, but not intrusively.
“How can I help?” – another good way to ask someone what they need from you.
A common theme from all of these statements is curiosity. By simply being curious, we are opening up the space to not only listen, but to understand. We can gauge from the answers if someone is looking to simply vent, or if they have come to you for advice. When we actively attempt to recognize another person’s experience, we validate their feelings; with that comes appreciation, comfort and a sense of being heard.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@jannerboy62