Validating Men’s Emotions

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Validating someone’s emotions is one of the most important skills to conquer if you want a healthy relationship. People who feel validated tend to have fewer emotionally-charged reactions that escalate to an out-of-control interaction.

Skip the unsolicited advice and focus on sympathizing with their feelings first. For example, saying something like “I would probably feel the same way if I was in your shoes” can go a long way.

  1. Listen.

When your partner shares their feelings, validate them by truly listening. This means making eye contact, nodding your head, and giving other cues that you’re taking their perspective in. This doesn’t mean agreeing with them or accepting harmful behavior, but rather simply conveying that you understand how they feel (and you don’t think their feelings are irrational).

Avoid responding by blaming, stigmatizing, or embarrassing them. These responses shut down the conversation and make it less likely they’ll open up to you in the future. Instead, try identifying an emotion and offering justification for it: “I can see how you would be mad about that” or “I feel like I’d be mad too.” These are very powerful and surprisingly connecting. Try it next time someone shares something with you.

  1. Appreciate.

When a person shares something vulnerable with you, the most important thing you can do is validate those feelings. This shows them that you accept and understand where they are coming from, which allows them to remain open and continue communicating so you can move towards a better feeling state or solution together.

Oftentimes, people who share a difficult experience with you feel like they are being judged or blamed for their emotions. This makes them shut down and it is impossible to make progress towards a resolution.

Instead, compliment them on their bravery in sharing and how much you appreciate them opening up to you. Men often get overlooked when it comes to emotional validation but they can still benefit from the smallest compliments (just avoid any fake ones). Be specific about what you are complimenting them on.

  1. Encourage.

Men often feel that expressing their emotions is seen as unmanly and are worried that they will not be taken seriously. This is why emotional validation is so important in healthy relationships.

When a man shares something with you try to encourage him by showing empathy and interest in his experiences. This can be as simple as nodding your head and saying “uh huh” to show you are listening.

It is also important to avoid telling them how they should feel or giving unsolicited advice. These responses can send the message that their feelings are not valid and may cause them to bottle them up or seek help elsewhere. This is also called invalidation and it can be very harmful to a relationship. For more information on how to validate emotions, check out this article by Karyn Hall at Psychology Today.

  1. Excuse.

Validation is a powerful skill, but it’s also important to avoid invalidating others’ feelings. Invalidation can be damaging to a relationship, and it sends the message that someone’s emotions are wrong.

Excuse, forgive and pardon all imply being lenient toward someone: to excuse something that might otherwise be blamed or censured: to excuse bad manners; to forgive a reprimand; to pardon a condemned criminal. The word alibi also resembles excuse, but it carries more weight than excuse since it implies a desire to avoid punishment or evade blame:

Learning how to validate people’s feelings can help you prevent conflicts and reduce negative emotional reactions. It can also improve intimacy and increase security in relationships. Validation is a valuable skill that’s worth practicing and mastering.

  1. Support.

A key component of emotional validation is showing support. This means letting your partner know you are on their side and that their feelings are valid, even if you do not agree with them.

You can show support by giving short verbal responses like “okay” or “uh-huh” while they speak and asking questions that demonstrate empathy. You may also offer to lighten their burden if it is feasible without compromising your own physical and mental well-being.

When your partner feels supported, they are less likely to lash out or defend themselves. They can also open up to discussing solutions together because they feel safe enough to do so. Invalidation, on the other hand, sends the message that their feelings are not real or important.validating men’s emotions

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