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I need to learn how to validate

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

DH and I were realizing last night that we are really bad at validating, and not out of lack of sensitivity to each others emotions, just out of not knowing what to say.  Does anybody have any ideas on how one would go about developing the ability to know what to say to validate somebody's feelings and to practice making it a habit?  Are there any books you would recommend?


Edited by JMJ - 11/29/10 at 11:33am
post #2 of 9

The trick is to remember that you don't have to do anything about the other person's feelings.  You don't have to fix it.  You don't have to agree with it.  It doesn't have to make sense.  It's just their feeling, not a fact, and all human beings have feelings that rarely make sense, and that's okay.  So I would just say, "I'm sorry you're feeling bad.  Do you want to talk about it?"  Or, "Wow!  I would have been scared, too!"

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I know that in my mind, but when it comes to practicing it, I just never seem to know what to say.  Perhaps it would be helpful if any of you mamas don't mind sharing a list of real live validations you have used.  Validations of husbands would be especially helpful, because it always seems to sound patronizing.

post #4 of 9

I'm not sure if this is what your thinking of but reflective listening is often helpful in validating another persons feelings. There's info and books out there on that, I think searching reflective listening should turn stuff up.

So for instance your husband says something like "we really can't spend anymore money this week" and you say "your really stressed about the money situation lately". Your saying back to him what you thought you heard. Either he says, yes, I am really stressed about it and not sure when it's going to get better, etc or he says no, I'm just worried about this week or whatever and says back to you hopefully a little more clearly what he meant. Either way though, people feel heard. It does take some practice and it sounds a little weird at first but it's a great tool to have. 

post #5 of 9

I totally second the reflective listening. It can be really powerful to hear back what you are saying, it lets you feel like you've been heard and allows space for clarification if need be.

 

A big part of it for me is letting go of agenda....letting go of trying to make it different for myself or the other person.

 

Also a big part of it is standing in my truth and learning to speak it without needing someone outside of myself to validate what I'm feeling.

 

As far as not knowing what to say sometimes, that's valid too! redface.gif Sometimes not saying anything is just ok. Maybe look at why (if) there is a need to fill up space with saying anything as a response. 

 

hope that helps.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks!  Reflective listening is pretty much what I was I was looking for.  If you have any books you know of that are helpful, please let me know.  Google is being quite helpful otherwise.  I told my mom about working on this, and she tried it in a tough meeting with somebody who had been not doing his job and lying to her about it, and the meeting went really well.  I find it funny that I can describe to her what to do in principle but struggle with what to say when I'm in the moment.

post #7 of 9

I am also trying to be a better listener. I just read a few things about reflective listening and I have to say that I had a friend who tried to use it on me and it came off poorly. I felt like she was putting words into my mouth, it was patronizing and overall it felt fake.

post #8 of 9

 

How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk is a pretty good book. It is of course more directed to dealing with kids but there are a lot of good ideas in there dealing with anyone. 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Punchy Kaby View Post

I am also trying to be a better listener. I just read a few things about reflective listening and I have to say that I had a friend who tried to use it on me and it came off poorly. I felt like she was putting words into my mouth, it was patronizing and overall it felt fake.


Yeah, I could see how it could be used badly and come off like that. It also depends on the attitude of the person who's trying to listen to you, if they really don't care, it's gonna sound fake. If she really did care and it still sounded like that to you it might have been another issue or she needed some practice! The idea is not to put words in the other persons mouth, it's to see if 1) you really understood what the other person said and 2) to validate their feelings about what they just said. 

 

SO if you said "I feel like your not listening to me" or "Why do you shut me off when I talk about my mom"

and I said "You feel like I'm not listening to you" or "I shut you off when you talk about your mom" you'd probably be like what!? yeah that's what I just said, aren't you listening? Then we'd be set back further. 

What I should have said would be something like

"Ok, so you feel like I'm ignoring you when you talk about XYorZ?" (pause for a second to give them a chance to respond) then you can explain your side or how you feel.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Yes!  This is exactly the problem that my husband and I are having.  It sounds very patronizing when the words come out.  At the same time, I've seen it work well.  I've been the recipient of it working well and feeling like I was respected and heard.  I was talking about some struggles that it felt like nobody had understood when they were happening early in my breastfeeding relationship.  At a LLL get-together, there were two women who listened as I shared my story, validating just enough of my statements to keep me going, and when I was finished, I felt like for the first time, somebody understood what I had gone through.  My experience wasn't something that "shouldn't" have happened, as I had felt before.  It was something that happened to me.  I want to be able to give what those women gave me to my family.

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