· Lead With A Statement That Validates
Before you get into the feedback session, lead with validation. This sets a positive tone and ensures that your partner knows you think they’re valid, no matter what opinion or advice you have to give. This means you should avoid using the word “but,” which can quickly invalidate your partner after your positive statement. Use “and” instead!
· Don’t Use Absolutes
Absolute statements, like “you always” or “I never,” are pretty much always untrue. They can also quickly put someone on the defensive. Using “often” or “rarely” instead will be much more accurate and won’t get shields put up.
· Use “I” Language
“I” language involves focusing on communicating your opinion without dragging your partner down. Sentences that start with “I feel…” or “I think…” are great ones to try using.
· Relate With A Similar Experience
If you have a similar experience to share, now is the time to do it. This can validate a partner by showing that you’ve been here before and that you understand. Don’t insinuate that you know exactly how your partner feels. Just build a connection off of shared knowledge. Also, don’t spend the whole time on yourself! Use your experience anecdote to check back in with your partner again, returning the focus onto them and connecting you closely.
5. Step 5: Re-Validate The Feeling Again
Remind your partner that you still find their emotions to be valid. This helps to reiterate your complete understanding and kindness towards your partner. The reinforcement helps to end the dialogue positively and healthily. This can emotionally uplift your partner and remind them that you’re on their side.
This is especially true because, for many, sharing feelings can be a frightening experience. You have to be open and vulnerable and may face hurtful backlash from someone you love. That’s why re-validation is so crucial! Thank your partner for trusting you, validate how difficult it may have been to talk about, and make sure they know you appreciate them for it.
If your partner feels especially validated, they may decide to continue the conversation and open up even further. If this happens, that’s awesome! Re-state your readiness to discuss the topic further. Just repeat the steps once more to continue perpetuating the positive cycle of validation and happiness in understanding.
Final Thoughts On Some Effective Ways To Validate Your Partner’s Feelings
Validating a partner can take practice, but it’s easier when broken down into steps. Listen, clarify, fully validate and acknowledge, offer feedback, and revalidate. It’s that simple!