ACKNOWLEGE AND VALIDATE
By: Jacqueline T.D. Huynh
One of the most powerful parts of communication is
Acknowledging and Validating.
Acknowledging is letting someone know we are really listening to what they said. It is a deep level of paraphrasing or mirroring back what the other person said. It invites someone to give you a deep level of information and it establishes rapport and trust
Acknowledgment Statement examples:
- “What you’re saying is….”
- “Let me see if I get this….”
- “What you’re telling me is that….”
- “I’m hearing you say….”
- “In other words…..”
Validating is letting someone know they have the right to feel the way they do. It is letting someone know you can see things in their perspective. It helps the person feel “normal” and that it is OK to feel the way they do even if it is just for the moment. Validating of emotions is NOT saying someone is right or wrong, or agreeing in any way.
Validating Statement examples:
- “You have every right to feel that way because….”
- “That’s perfectly normal (or natural). It can be very upsetting when something like that happens.”
- “You feel hurt & angry (acknowledge), it makes sense you feel resentful.”
- “Based on your values (or your belief system, or the way you saw that), it’s no wonder you feel that way.
You will find that there are many times this process of Acknowledging and Validating will diffuse the intense emotions and allow the other person to come back into to themselves and see the learnings so they are able to find solutions themselves.
Now pair up with a family member. Each person talk about an incident that happened recently that made them upset/mad/sad/frustrated. The other person will practice “acknowledging” and “validating” and follow that up with an empowering and open-ended question.
An open-ended question is a question that can not be responded by an answer of “yes” or “no”. An open ended question requires deeper thinking which will lead the person to find his/her own answer that resonates with them.) Then switch with your partner
Share with your partner what the experience was like and what thoughts and emotions came up during the exercise.