We all want to have our feelings validated. This is a great tool for being present with other people and demonstrating that we understand how the other person feels. You aren’t trying to fix the problem or tell the person that they shouldn’t feel that way. Instead, you witness their emotions and show them that you are listening, that their feelings matter, and that you understand. You might also share a similar experience you’ve had to help demonstrate that you understand how they might be feeling.
You can validate your own feelings, too! One of my favorite tools to teach people is how to be their own best friend by using this skill with themselves. Imagine that you had a very difficult day because something disappointing happened. You can be your own best friend by saying to yourself, “Disappointments are never easy. I know you feel angry about what happened and afraid that things won’t turn out as you hoped they would. Of course you feel that way about this situation. Today was hard for you. I have your back — I’m here for you. And I believe in you. You’ll get through this!”
Oftentimes people will respond to their own feelings by thinking “You shouldn’t feel this way,” or “This is silly! Just snap out of it! It’s no big deal!” You probably wouldn’t talk to your best friend that way, and you probably wouldn’t like it if someone said that to you when you expressed your feelings.
Most people are amazed by how difficult this is to do! It requires guided practice and patience for most people because it requires an advanced level of skillfulness.