Several years ago, there was an entertaining video going around social media. I use it in Marriage Enrichment Courses.
It’s not just men who are “fixers.” Some women have the need to “fix the problem” and some men have the need for someone “to just listen.” Sometimes, we may be a person that needs to do both. Regardless, the video demonstrates an important concept in relationships, whether in marriage, parenting, with co-workers, or neighbors.
The concept is to VALIDATE EMOTIONS.
Yes. Simply listening to the other person, meeting them in their emotions, and validating that emotion, transforms EVERY relationship.
You can use phrases like these to help validate the emotions of another person:
- I hear you.
- ..You’re upset.
- That’s upsetting.
- You must be angry to talk to me that way.
- I can understand how you would feel that way.
- I would feel that way, too.
- Help me understand.
Now, don’t confuse validation with approval. Those are two different ideas. Validation is simply hearing and attempting to understand the emotion that is surfacing in the other person. When tend to think validating the emotion is approving of the resulting behavior, which is not the case.
We have no control over the emotions that surface within us. They are largely genetic and learned and surface when needs are not met. For instance, have you ever felt an emotion you didn’t want to feel…and not been able to stop it from surfacing? There you go.
If someone were to validate that emotion for you, it helps take the edge off. One word for that is normalizing. It also demonstrates that the other person is listening to you (not attempting to fix you) and that you are being heard. In these types of situations, we are not looking to be “fixed.”
We ALL want to be heard. Validating emotion does just that.
It’s okay that emotions surface. You have no control over when or which emotions surface. However, you do have control over WHAT you do with them. But that’s a topic for another blog.
For now…remember…it is not about the nail.