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10 Steps to Validating Others

Validating others is a crucial skill that fosters strong, healthy relationships and effective communication. When you validate someone, you acknowledge their feelings, thoughts, and experiences, showing empathy and understanding.

Here are some practical steps to help you validate others effectively:

1. Listen Actively

Active listening is the foundation of validation. Focus on the speaker, make eye contact, and avoid interrupting. Show that you’re genuinely interested in what they are saying.

  • Tips for active listening:

  • Nod occasionally to show understanding.

  • Use verbal cues like “I see” or “Go on.”

  • Avoid distractions such as checking your phone or looking around the room.

2. Show Empathy

Empathy is about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Try to understand their feelings and perspectives without judgment.

  • Empathy in action:

  • Imagine how you would feel in a similar situation.

  • Reflect back what you hear: “It sounds like you’re really frustrated about this.”

3. Acknowledge Their Feelings

Let the person know that their feelings are valid and understandable. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say, but you recognize their right to feel that way.

  • Phrases to acknowledge feelings:

  • “It makes sense that you feel this way.”

  • “I can see why this is upsetting for you.”

4. Avoid Judgement

Refrain from making judgments or offering unsolicited advice. Validating someone means accepting their experience as it is, without trying to fix it.

  • Non-judgmental responses:

  • “I hear you.”

  • “That sounds really challenging.”

5. Reflect and Clarify

Reflecting back what the other person has said shows that you are paying attention and helps to clarify their thoughts and feelings.

  • Reflection techniques:

  • “So what you’re saying is…”

  • “It sounds like you’re feeling…”

6. Be Present

Give the person your full attention. Being present means being in the moment with them, both mentally and emotionally.

  • Being present involves:

  • Minimizing distractions.

  • Being mindful of your body language, ensuring it is open and receptive.

7. Express Understanding

After listening and reflecting, express your understanding of their situation.

  • Expressing understanding:

  • “I understand that this is really important to you.”

  • “I get why you’re feeling overwhelmed.”

8. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Encourage the person to share more by asking open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no.

  • Examples of open-ended questions:

  • “How did that make you feel?”

  • “What happened next?”

9. Normalize Their Experience

Help the person see that their feelings or reactions are normal and that others might feel the same way in similar situations.

  • Normalizing statements:

  • “Many people would feel this way in your situation.”

  • “It’s completely natural to feel that way after what you’ve been through.”

10. Show Support

Offer your support without trying to take control of the situation. Let the person know that you are there for them.

  • Supportive statements:

  • “I’m here for you.”

  • “If you need anything, I’m just a call away.”


Validating others is about creating a safe space where they feel heard, understood, and respected. By practicing active listening, showing empathy, and avoiding judgment, you can build deeper connections and foster an environment of mutual respect and understanding. Remember, validation doesn’t require you to solve the other person’s problems; it’s about being present and supportive as they navigate their own experiences.

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