A couple of weeks ago I wrote, “4 Ways to Validate Your Spouse” and one of my readers, Laura Lee of Outnumberedmom suggested that I write about what validation is NOT because many people think they’re validating someone when nothing is further from the truth.
I totally agree!
I’ve been there, in a deep conversation with my spouse or someone I care about and I’m thinking …
“I hope s/he gets it this time. I hope s/he can validate what I’m saying” …
Only to end up feeling unheard or passed by completely … invalidated.
There’s this sacred connection that can happen when we learn to validate, but when we offer a counterfeit, it instead creates walls …
And who wants a wall between our heart and our spouse’s heart? Not me!
So I’ve come up with 8 examples of what validation is not and maybe you could help me with adding a few more in the comment section.
Validation is not …
- Reminding them of all the pastoral platitudes you can think of to “stop the bleeding.”
- Offering a quick and unsolicited word of advice to solve their problem.
- Turning the conversation back around to what you’ve been feeling as a way to “empathize” and never really zeroing in on what the other person has just said about his/her feelings.
- Complimenting them on how well they’re managing, then quickly changing the subject so you can shut down the more emotional or heavy one they just introduced.
- Nodding and saying, “Uh huh”, “Yes”, “Is that so?” at all the proper interval as to behave like an active listener, even though you’re feeling more like a dutiful or disinterested one (Trust me, there’s no hiding it).
- Being so uncomfortable with their pain that you pretend to offer a guise of comfort by saying, “Aww, you shouldn’t feel that way.”
- Telling them to look on the bright side, saying something like “It could be worse, you could be like Mr. Phipps who lost a leg when he … blah, blah, blah.”
- Using all the correct validation lingo, while keeping your eyes glued to your cell phone, tablet or laptop.
Don’t get me wrong. I realize that most of the examples I’ve given are offered from well-intentioned people—whose desire is to validate and offer comfort. But in most of these situations, people either don’t know how to validate or are too uncomfortable with the vulnerability that validation requires to offer it freely. Let’s face it—validation is not for cowards!
I’m working on improving and focusing on this more in my life and conversations. I’d love it if you’d join me!
So, what do you think?
Are you ready to break down some communication walls and truly validate your loved ones?
What are some well-intentioned ways you’ve “not” been validated by someone in the past?
“Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound.” Proverbs 25:20 (NLT)
Don’t forget to join me for Wedded Wednesday this week! I’m going to highlight some favorite posts I’ve read recently! Maybe your name/blog will be found there!
photo by | spoon |