I was reading blogs this week and was struck by Runs For Cookie’s Mental Health Monday post. In it, she discusses how validation will get you everywhere in life. She even had this quote from Steven Covey, “Most People do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
She provided an example of when someone came up to her and told her they were nervous. A non-validating response would be something dismissive like, “don’t be” or “you have no reason to be nervous” but a more validating response would be like, “I know the feeling — I get nervous before every ___”.
I love this example because TOO OFTEN, I’m feeling anxious about something and those closest to me try to be kind but end up being dismissive. They’ll say things like, “don’t worry” or “we’re fine”. It doesn’t do anything to easy my anxiousness and according to this article it could be because it makes me feel un-heard.
I am the middle of three kiddos. I’m the second girl, with only a year between me and my older sister. My mom had undiagnosed post-pardum depression with me which, for the duration of my childhood and adolescence, was a wall between the two of us. There was little to no communication and very little in the way of validation.
I’ve never felt heard or understood — especially by my family. They simply don’t know what it’s like.
As an adult, I’ve reacted to this by becoming a teacher. Now, I have a daily audience of 30-50 students that are all really trying to hear me and understand me. All the while I try to refine my words and rephrase my sentences to make sure I’m most easily understood.
Validating my spouse
I feel I’m most guilty of forgetting to validate my spouse. I end up being “lovingly dismissive” because things just get hectic.
It’s important for both parties to feel validated and I worry that hubby doesn’t feel heard or appreciated at work — or at home.
I’m going to make it a goal to ensure he’s validated when he shares something — and to make sure he feels heard and understood.