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“Just like children, our emotions heal when they are heard and validated.” ~Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey

This week I had lunch with a dear friend who’s a caring, first-rate conversationalist. How does she do it? For starters, she pays attention. She follows the details of my stories and acknowledges how I feel about the experiences I’ve just shared with her. I always feel heard, uplifted, and validated in her presence.

Validation is key to every good conversation — spoken, typed, or written. To validate someone doesn’t mean we must agree with (or approve of) everything they tell us. It means that we recognize and affirm the emotional aspects as well as the facts of the topic being discussed.

Offering validation proves that we’ve been listening. Phrases such as, “That must have been painful for you” or “I can see how that would have been worrisome” go a long way toward making someone feel heard and understood. ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

One Comment

  • Sheryl Kraft

    So true! Often we feel we need to give advice, but advice is not always possible…validation is sometimes better than any advice we could conjure up.

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