When we think of what we can do to nurture our relationship, we often think of tangibles. Perhaps it was a caring teacher in grade school who seemed to know exactly the right thing to say when you were upset. Think back to a time when you remember feeling really understood.Think back to the last time you really felt heard, understood, and listened to. You join their world and see things from their point of view.
There are a few key components to help guide your conversations. Mindful listening is the first component of validation.
This means you really pay attention to what your partner is saying.
Validation is the recognition and acceptance of another person's thoughts,feelings, sensations, and behaviors as understandable. Holding someone's hand when they are having a painful medical treatment, listening with your whole mind and doing nothing but listening to a child describe their day in first grade, and going to a friend's house at midnight to sit with her while she cries because a supposed friend told lies about her are all examples of being present.
Self-validation is the recognition and acceptance of your own thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviors as understandable. Multi-tasking while you listen to your teenager's story about his soccer game is not being present.
Learning how to use validation effectively takes practice. Being present means giving all your attention to the person you are validating.