A simple strategy can improve your relationships

One of the four options we have in any problem situation is acceptance. Validation is one way that we communicate acceptance of ourselves and others. Validation doesn’t mean agreeing or approving. When your best friend or a family member makes a decision that you really don’t think is wise, validation is a way of supporting them and strengthening the relationship while maintaining a different opinion. Validation is a way of communicating that the relationship is important and solid even when you disagree on issues.

Validation is the recognition and acceptance of another person’s thoughts,feelings, sensations, and behaviors as understandable. Self-validation is the recognition and acceptance of your own thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviors as understandable.

Watch a video of Dr. Sadaqat Ali talks about factors that make marriage a successful relationship
Dr. Sadaqat Ali talks about factors that make marriage a successful relationship

karyn-hall-2Karyn Hall, Ph.D. is the founder of www.DBTSkillsCoaching.com.(link is external)She is also the author of The Emotionally Sensitive Person, Mindfulness Exercises, and SAVVY. She is co-author of The Power of Validation and has a podcast called The Emotionally Sensitive Person,(link is external) available on itunes. She is a DBT-Linehan Board Board of Certification, Certified Clinician.

Editor: Nadeem Pasha

Learning how to use validation effectively takes practice. Knowing the six levels of validation as identified by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D. will be helpful.

The first Level is Being Present. There are so many ways to be present. Holding someone’s hand when they are having a painful medical treatment, listening with your whole mind and doing nothing but listening to a child describe their day in first grade, and going to a friend’s house at midnight to sit with her while she cries because a supposed friend told lies about her are all examples of being present.


Multi-tasking while you listen to your teenager’s story about his soccer game is not being present. Being present means giving all your attention to the person you are validating.

Being present for yourself means acknowledging your internal experience and sitting with it rather than “running away” from it, avoiding it, or pushing it away. Sitting with intense emotion is not easy. Even happiness or excitement can feel uncomfortable at times.

Here’s another video of Dr. Sadaqat Ali on why being too nice is disadvantageous
Dr. Sadaqat Ali talks about why “being too nice” is disadvantageous