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  • Writer's pictureEmily Piette

Validation: What it is, and why it is important

In my work with relationships, I guide partners and family members to validate the other person's feelings.

This past week, a client looked at me and said "Okay, I hear you... But HOW do I validate them?" This was a great question.

Oxford dictionary defines Validation as "recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile".

So if I validate someone, does this mean I agree with them?

In relationships, emotional closeness is critical for our health. Validating an emotion doesn't mean that you agree with the other person or that you think their emotional response is warranted. Rather, you demonstrate that you understand what they are feeling without trying to talk them out of or shame them for it.

When you emotionally validate someone, you:

  • Communicate acceptance: You demonstrate that you care about and accept the person for who they are.

  • Strengthen the relationship: People who show each other acceptance feel more connected and build stronger bonds.

  • Show value: The person feels they are important to you.

  • Foster better emotional regulation: Research suggests that offering people emotional validation can help them better regulate their emotions. This can be particularly important with strong negative or distressing feelings.

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