How To Improve Your Relationships Through Emotional Validation

Sara Knick
4 min readMar 11, 2021
Photo by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash.

Emotional validation is an important social skill that anyone can learn. Help yourself and others to feel more respected and accepted. You can practice with your loved ones and with people you barely know.

Basics of Validation

1. Define validation. Validation refers to acknowledging someone’s feelings. That’s distinct from saying you agree with them or condoning their behavior. You can talk with your child about how feeling afraid led them to hide their failing grades without suggesting that was the right thing to do.

2. Offer validation to yourself. Learn to validate yourself as well as others. Similar techniques work in both cases. Recognizing your true feelings is the first step in being able to manage them constructively.

3. Monitor your nonverbal expressions. Body language is part of the process. If you feel patient and attentive, you’re likely to look relaxed and welcoming. On the other hand, rolling your eyes at a person can feel just as dismissive as any verbal ridicule.

4. Take advantage of daily opportunities. It’s easier to master a skill when you use it frequently. Every social interaction can be a training opportunity, whether you’re talking with your mother or the cashier at your grocery store.

Benefits of Validation

1. Help people to feel like they belong. The need to fit in is fundamental to human nature. Validating each other’s feelings helps us all to feel more respected and appreciated. We’re reminded that we all have value just for being who we are.

2. Reduce conflicts. Let people know that you care about them and that their feelings matter. Fewer disagreements arise when people trust each other and demonstrate good will.

3. Improve communications. In the absence of judging or casting blame, many people will be eager to open up immediately. Open-ended questions and supportive comments can also help promote more constructive dialogue.

4. Empower others. Authenticating someone’s feelings strengthens their capacity to resolve their own dilemmas. They may get insights into underlying motivations and recurring patterns of behavior that will help them adopt more constructive…

Sara Knick

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