Blog

Understanding does not equal agreement(DW#742 )

In any relationship, we will not always be "on the same page". We will see things differently and have different reactions to the same event. This is quite common and even healthy. To have a strong and healthy relationship, we do not need to have the same thoughts and opinions about everything.

One of the things that trips many of us when we are practicing validation is when the other person views things very differently from how we do.

For example, if our spouse gets upset at her co-worker because she is late to work every day, we may struggle to understand why this is such a big deal. It may not matter to us what time our co-workers get to work and we may even empathize with the co-worker because she is a single mother with small children.

It can be very challenging to listen to someone whose world view, thoughts and opinions are different from ours.

When this happens, we need to remind ourselves that listening and trying to understand where the other person does not...

Continue Reading...

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...
Continue Reading...

Examples of validation (DW#740)

We have been talking about demonstrating our care and understanding of our loved ones by validating their emotions and experiences.

There are, of course, many many ways to validate. The essence of validation is to demonstrate that you recognize their emotions and that given their experience and world view, it makes sense that they would feel that way.

Here are some examples:

Here is what I am hearing you say (summarize what the other person has told you).

I can see that you are (sad, scared, angry, etc.)
I can see you are doing your best and are working hard.
Yeah, I can totally see how that would make you feel really (sad, scared, angry, etc.)
It makes sense that you would be so upset about that.
Tell me more (shows interest).
I can see you are overwhelmed. Can we talk about it?
It sounds like you are scared and this is hard for you.
I can see that this is important to you.
Given your values, this must really mean a lot to you.
Of course… that makes...
Continue Reading...

What to do instead of trying to cheer people up(DW#739)

Yesterday, we discussed how trying to get people to look on the bright side rarely works to cheer them up.

So what should we do instead?

Try validation.

Very briefly, human beings desire to connect. We communicate because we crave connection. And that connection comes from being heard, understood, and appreciated.

 
Validation is the art of communicating the understanding and appreciation of another human being. The message of validation is: you matter to me. You make sense. You are important.

Validation is one of the most important relationship skills and one that few of us are naturally proficient at. We need to be intentional in developing it. This is the hard work of being in relationship but the rewards in terms of connection and intimacy are SO worth it.

Effective validation has two main components:

 
 1.    It identifies a specific emotion
2.    It offers justification for feeling that emotion – this is...
Continue Reading...

Are you trying to get loved ones to look on the bright side?(DW#738 )

We have been talking about checking in with family members.

What do we do though, if they share that they are struggling or not feeling great emotionally?

How do we make them feel better? How do we cheer them up?

Have you tried any of the following?

·      You’ll be fine.

·      Let’s focus on gratitude.

·      It could be worse!

·      We have it better than so many people.

·      At least it’s not [fill in the blank].

·      Look on the bright side

·      Just put a smile on your face and tough it out.

·      This too shall pass.

·      Don’t worry; things will work out.

·      You/We shouldn’t feel that way.

...

Continue Reading...

Rose bud and thorn(DW#737)

Here is possibly my favourite way to check in with others.

Ask family members to think of their "rose, bud, and thorn" of the day:

Rose: this is the best thing that happened to them during the day.
Bud: is something they are looking forward to with hope.
Thorn: is the worst thing that happened to them today.

Please remember that the point is not to discuss why they think a particular thing is a rose or a thorn. Please do not discuss how their "thorn" is not so bad or try to get them to see the rose amongst the thorn!

That is NOT the point of this exercise.

The more we are able to validate and listen with understanding and compassion, the more open the others will be to moving beyond their current feelings and emotions.

Continue Reading...

Highs and Lows(DW#736)

Here is another way to keep connected with the internal world of your loved ones and check in with them.

It is call Highs and Lows. It is a great way to spark off dinner conversation about the happenings of the day.

Ask people to think of their "high and low" of the day – this is the best thing that happened to them during the day, and the worst thing that happened to them.

Give everyone a chance to think, then have everyone share with the family.

Once again, it is up to the person whether they want to explain and elaborate on their feelings about what happened, or not.

Conversations like this are very helpful in letting our family know that we can talk about the hard and challenging stuff as well as the happy and positive stuff. That both our successes and our challenges can be discussed and will be met with validation and understanding.

Continue Reading...

A basic emotional check in(DW#735 )

During these times, it is a good idea to check in with family members about their emotional and mental health each day.

Simply sharing and being able to speak about challenging situations and how they are impacting us can be very helpful in coping with these challenges.

Today’s check in is very simple:

At a set time each day (morning or evening), ask everyone around to rate their mood on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst mood and 10 being the best.

 
Once everyone has rated their mood, you can simply thank them for sharing, offer them a hug or ask if they want to say more, elaborate or explain.

Please remember to listen with LUV and to resist offering "helpful advice" for now. The focus is simply to check in and validate whatever they may be feeling at the time.

Continue Reading...

Listen with LUV (DW#734)

family pandemic stress Apr 09, 2020
We have been talking about checking in with ourselves and sharing our emotional world with our loved ones.

Today let us look around and see how others in our family are coping.

If there are upsurges and down surges of moods around right now, please know that this is to be expected. If people are more short tempered or irritable, please cut them some slack.

Everyone in our family is also going through their own stress right now and there is no manual (yet!) on how families can cope through a global pandemic. I have no doubt that we will settle into a new normal and adjust to changing circumstances and it will take some time.

In the meantime, let us develop a habit of checking in with those around us as well.

Before we explore some ways to check in with those around us, let us remind ourselves that when they do share, to listen with LUV.

Here is what I mean:

•       LISTEN with your ears, eyes and heart to understand their...
Continue Reading...

6 Reasons why you must share your feelings(DW#733)

emotions family feelings Apr 08, 2020
I am hoping that you have been trying on the practices for tuning in and checking in with yourself.

Today, let us take this one step further and explore why it is a good idea to share your feelings with your spouse and family.
 
Here are 6 reasons:
 

1)   When we give name our feelings rather than acting them out, we give ourselves and each other the gift of connection rather conflict. Sharing our inner world is the gateway to intimacy and connection.
2)   When we announce where we are at emotionally, we take responsibility for our own state rather than blame those around us for causing our distress.
3)   When we declare that we are having a hard time right now, we relieve others around us of thinking that they are the cause. They then do not have to walk on eggshells around us.
4)    When we are emotionally open, it gives our family something they need desperately right now: certainty. Rather than guessing if...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.