Our existence on earth as human beings is relatively uncertain. Despite philosophy or spiritual insight, nobody’s entirely sure as to why we are here. Many spend their entire lives contemplating their purpose and trying to figure out who they are. If you have a great sense of self or lack a sense of self you have a need that everyone experiences: a need for validation. In all of our curiosities and peculiarities we all have a driving desire to be acknowledged and understood. While trying to understand so many great existential things around us, we have a very basic need to just be understood as who we are.
Validating others is an important part of communication and relationships. However, when not done right, you could validate the wrong things. We want to validate the authenticity and trueness of who someone is not their negative behaviors or coping mechanisms. Here are six quick tips for validating others in a positive way. Importantly, these tools of validation don’t just apply to others. You validate yourself, which is something we must learn how to do in recovery. Becoming too dependent upon the validation from others can leave us without feeling good about who we are. You have the ability to validate yourself for yourself and that validation has to be good enough.
We need to be heard when we are speaking. If someone is talking to you, no matter what they are talking about, give them your undivided attention. When you check your phone, look around, or act distracted, it is actually invalidating and can cause the other person not to open up to you anymore.
Quite often, we listen with an agenda. Instead of hearing out what someone else is saying and trying to help them decide what they need from us as a listener, we calculate the perfect response, way to assert our opinion, or advice which will make us seem so wise. Instead of planning your rebuttal, just listen.
Practice Reflective Listening
To be sure you understand someone in the full way they need to be understood, clarify with them what you heard. You will let them know you were listening and that you are committed to making sure they are validated.
Don’t Use The Word “But”
You might say something like, “I totally understand what you’re saying…” and add on something like, “…but I think that…” Using the word “but” is invalidating. You quite literally say I didn’t understand what you said and now I’m going to tell you what I think instead of try to listen to you.
Aurora Recovery center works hard with staff to create a loving and supportive environment where each member can feel heard, seen, acknowledged, and appreciated. Our residential programs of treatment are available for men and women seeking recovery from substance abuse, mental health disorders, and more. Call us today for more information, 844-515-STOP.