The Power of Validation

The power of validation

Why is it some discussions turn into arguments?  What causes arguments to be escalated?  When you look closely into the anatomy of conflict, you find one recurring theme: One or more of the people involved don’t feel they are being listened to.  And the most common cause of this is the absence of validation on the part of or both parties. We often fail to validate the other person’s points of view.

Arguments Start With Yabut

Imagine, for example, the following conversation:

Wife: I think we should get an SUV so we’ve got more room for our family.

Husband: I think we should buy a compact car because it’s better on gas mileage.

Wife: Yabut, a compact car isn’t comfortable for our family of five.

Husband: Yabut, gas is going up and SUV’s are going to be way too expensive to drive.

Wife: That’s fine for you because you’re always doing the driving when were together as a family and don’t have to sit in the back seat.

Husband: Yabut, you’re not the one paying for the gas….

In this example both people have valid arguments, but if either are listening to the other, they’re giving no indication.

Discussions Start With Validation

Now imagine the exact same discussion, but this time with each person validating or acknowledging the other person’s point of view:

Wife: I think we should get an SUV so we’ve got more room for our family.

Husband: Yeah it would be good to have the extra room, I’m just concerned about the gas mileage, I think we should buy a compact car.

Wife: That’s true, gas is getting really expensive, but in this stage of our life I’m willing to sacrifice the price for a little more comfort when I’m sitting in the back seat.

Husband: Fair enough. I’m just really struggling with the dollars and cents of it all…

You can see how the simple validation of the person’s point of view can create a discussion instead of an argument; and how it can help prevent the escalations of arguments.

Make it a point when you’re in discussions with people to always acknowledge their point of view. You can restate it, re-frame it, or even just say little phrases like, “That’s fair” or “I hear you”. You will be amazed at how much more positive the outcome will be.

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