Definition of validating feelings
But the good news is that you can develop this emotional intelligent skill if you work at it.When we allow someone to express feelings, we help the person feel heard allowing the expression and release which may help diminish the feelings.When feelings are not validated they actually may become more intense.Often we want the person to feel better so we say things to “talk them out of his feelings”.This may give the unspoken message that the feelings are not okay.
Reflective listening is used by reflecting back to the other person what you heard him say.And while reflective listening is a very good and necessary skill for good relationships, validating feelings goes a bit deeper.We relate to the person that we understand what he is saying.Validating feelings is being able to sit and listen to the feelings, not fix them, not give advice and not minimize or talk the person out of the feelings.
To validate someone means that you reflect back to the person that you heard him say she was feeling sad or lonely AND that you understand why the person might feel the way he feels.
Messages are often given to us as children (and by us to our children) that we need to buck up, stop crying and get over it.