Check your understanding(DW#741)

Here is another thing about trying to understand someone’s inner world: You will get it wrong. Quite often in fact.

As we develop our validation skills, we may get the emotion, the experience or the meaning behind it wrong.

This makes sense, because after all, we are trying to get a glimpse of someone else’s experience from our world view. Our lens and their lens are not the same. Our experience is not the same as their experience. We are trying to visit a foreign land and we may struggle to understand the language and the customs.

So, when you are trying to validate and get it wrong, remind yourself that it this is common and that you are learning. Your continuing effort to do this is the most important thing for your relationship.

To clarify your understanding of your loved one’s internal world, try some open-ended questions such as:

Can I ask some questions to help me get this?
I need your help to understand this better.
Is this a good time to talk?
Tell me more.
Help me understand.
Wait. So what you’re saying is…
Is this what you mean? I want to make sure I understand where you are coming from.
I’m not sure I understood what went on. Would you help me to "get it"?
Can you give me a stress #? 1= I’m OK, 10= I’m drowning!
It sounds like this means a lot to you. Give me the backstory.
Help me understand why this is so important to you.
How can I support you through this?
Is there anything I can do to help you?

Some questions will resonate with the other person more than others. Pay attention and you will learn which ones work best for your relationship.

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