Speaking with an acquaintance recently they asked me how I was doing. Given they had asked I thought I’d give them an honest answer. I chose to disclose a certain personal area that I was challenged with but instead of acknowledging it they continued talking about themselves.
In this case, my disclosure, the way I was feeling and the challenge I shared were not validated – it was passed over.
When someone chooses to share something of a personal nature, they are trusting us with their stuff. Their vulnerability says something about the relationship you have with them – they trust you.
Validating a personal disclosure happens intentionally. We have to be present in the conversation and then responsive. No response, no validation. The power of validation is empathy without judgement.
That must be difficult for you
I can’t imagine what you’re going through
How are you coping with that pressure?
How is that working for you?
I don’t understand your situation but I can imagine it would be painful.
No judgements but simple statements and questions that validate the disclosure.
And sometimes, people just want someone to listen – the act of being fully present and simply listening validating the person’s situation.
From validation, trust is increasingly built. From increased trust, (and particularly when the discloser asks for it) direction can be provided. Direction and solutions too soon can invalidate the person’s disclosure.
Validation… a powerful connection tool with those in the workplace, home and community and interestingly, my observation would be that those we lead in the workplace stay in their jobs longer and are more productive when validation is evident.