The Dance of Communication: Part 3

Nancy Kalina I have heard from numerous readers about my last e-newsletter The Dance of Communication Part 2 that focused on the skill of validation in communication. Therefore, I think it would be helpful to take a deeper dive into what validation is and why it is so important. To do this, I am sharing with you the article by Karyn Hall that I read when preparing to write my last article.

However, before sharing, I want to be transparent with all of you. I am writing this series of e-newsletters on Imago Dialogue for multiple reasons. Yes, I think all of our relationships could benefit from more intentional communication. I know that my relationship with Kim has. Additionally, I believe our country is tremendously polarized and hurting right now. There is not one group of people that has a corner on the market in regards to feeling uncertain or unheard. We all have contributed to this us-versus-them mentality that we’re experiencing in our culture. That being said, I personally want to communicate authentically and intentionally with people who have different ideologies than I do. I personally think that intentional communication is the only way to heal our country and world. The concept of separation does not benefit anyone. We think it does, but it only creates a mass illusion that the group we belong to is better or more right than another group. You may or may not agree with me, and that’s fine. I personally want to live in a world where I continue to learn from people who have lived different lives than I have lived. I want to share my experiences and discover other people’s experiences. I want to remain open. So, I encourage you to contemplate reaching out to people you don’t know and who you think you have nothing in common with. You may find out that you have more in common than you realize.

What is Validation and Why Do I Need to Know?
By Karyn Hall, PhD

Have you ever wished you could take back an email that you sent when you were emotionally upset?  Or maybe you made some statements when you were sad that  you didn’t really mean or agreed to something when you were thinking with your heart that you later regretted ? Or maybe you wanted to be supportive and helpful to someone you love but couldn’t because your own emotions made it difficult?

Communicating when overwhelmed with emotion does not usually work well. Being overwhelmed with emotion is not a pleasant experience. For emotionally sensitive people, managing their emotions so they can communicate most effectively and with the best results means learning to manage the intense emotions they experience on a regular basis.

Validation from others is one of the best tools to help emotionally sensitive people manage their emotions effectively.  Self-validation is one of the best ways for emotionally sensitive people to manage their own feelings. Self-validation is the step that comes before self-compassion. Acknowledging that the internal experience exists and is understandable comes before self-kindness.

Understanding Validation

Validation is a simple concept to understand but difficult to put into practice.

Validation is the recognition and acceptance of another person’s internal experience as being valid. Emotional validation is distinguished from emotional invalidation, in which your own or another person’s emotional experiences are rejected, ignored, or judged.  Self-validation is the recognition and acknowledgement of your own internal experience.

Validation does not mean agreeing with or supporting feelings or thoughts. Validating does not mean love. You can validate someone you don’t like even though you probably wouldn’t want to.

Why is Validation Important?

Validation communicates acceptance. Humans have a need to belong and feeling accepted is calming. Acceptance means acknowledging the value of yourself and  fellow human beings.

Validation helps the person know they are on the right track.  Life can be confusing and difficult. Feedback from others that what you are experiencing is normal or makes sense lets you know that you thinking and feeling in understandable ways.  Your internal experience does not have to be the same as anyone else’s but it helps to know that your experiences is understandable. Or not.

Validation helps regulate emotions. Knowing  that you are heard and understood is a powerful experience and one that seems to relieve urgency.  Some say it’s because when we don’t feel understood it creates thoughts of being left out or not fitting in.  Those thoughts lead to fear and maybe panic because of the importance of being part of a group is critical for survival, especially in the early days of mankind, and of the potential loss of love and acceptance which is a basic need.  Whatever the reason, validation helps soothe emotional upset.

Validation helps build identity. Validation is like a reflection of yourself and your thoughts by another person. Your values and patterns and choices are highlighted and that helps people see their own personality characteristics more clearly.

Validation builds relationships.  Feeling accepted builds relationships. Some research shows that chemicals related to feeling connected are released when someone is validated.

Validation builds understanding and effective communication.  Human beings are limited in what they can see, hear and understand. Two people can watch the same event occur and see different aspects and remember important details differently.  Validation is a way of understanding another person’s point of view.

Validation shows the other person that they are important.  Whether the person being validated is a child, a significant other, a spouse, a parent, a friend, or an employee, validation communicates that they are important to you and you care about their thoughts and feelings and experiences. Validation also shows the other person that you are there for them.

Validation helps us persevere.  Sometimes when change is very difficult, having the difficulty of the task recognized helps people keep working toward their goal. It seems to help replenish willpower.

A simple to understand concept, validation is powerful and often more difficult to practice than it might at first seem.  In my experience, the results are well-worth the effort.

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.


Sharing Corner

There are a number of things I want to share with you in this e-newsletter. First of all, I want to remind you that the Hero’s Journey Retreat is coming up fast! It starts on Friday, March 31st in the evening! I am uber excited! So, register today to join us for this transformative and empowering experience.

Secondly, I want to share with all of those who live in Bloomington or close by that we are having another mass gathering for meditation / silent reflection. Our group is called Being Bloomington: Being Together. So, come join us at noon on Thursday, March 23, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. You and your body will be so glad that you did! You will walk away feeling peaceful and rejuvenated.



One of my clients who has been pondering his role in the current climate of our country shared this lovely TED Talk with me. Megan Phelps-Roper shares her unique perspective of how people using intentional and compassionate communication with her via Twitter changed her life.

Until next time,

Safe Space Life Coaching

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