UMBC Wellness in the Workplace

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August 2009: Validate the experience and feelings of others.

One of the biggest gifts we can give someone while listening is to validate their experience or feelings about whatever is going on, even if we don't happen to agree. To validate someone else's experience is to let them know that they make sense, that their way of seeing the world is legitimate. We are all unique observers with particular ways of seeing, being, and understanding our experiences and in validating others we help empower them to see and believe their own truth, establishing respect and trust in the process.

This month look for opportunities to validate someone else's worldview, situation, etc. You might say "What you're saying makes sense to me and what makes sense about it is...." Notice how they respond in the presence of this validation – what do they say, what changes in their physical presence, etc.? What does offering this gift do to strengthen your relationship?