When I first met the absolute catch of a man I am dating and when we were in the early phases of getting to know each other, something immediately struck me about the way he spoke to me. I would begin a seemingly endless ramble, likely about something completely opposite to what we had been talking about. He would listen patiently as I’d say something like, it probably sounds silly but xyz.
When I finally stopped talking long enough to take a breath, this poor, patient man would usually begin with the phrase, That’s so reasonable.
After a bit, it almost became a running joke. It was said exceptionally often.
Fast forward over a year. In a recent conversation, he said, it’s not just you and proceeded to once again legitimize everything I had shared.
Have you ever been validated like that? Have you ever had your concerns not just heard but truly listened to? Have you ever had someone believe in your thoughts and emotions in a deep, sincere way?
I’m now convinced this is a core building block to love.
But it also has a counter block. You see, I love being justified. I love when I can verbally process something to him and hear him reflect back what I’m saying with support. It’s so incredibly reassuring and validating.
But that wouldn’t work unaccompanied.
The reason it works is because I can trust his validation. And the reason I trust his validation is because he also will (respectfully) tell me when I’m not being reasonable. He will (gently) tell me when it is just me who is blowing something out of proportion.
It’s the perfect balance of support and challenge; love and care; cheerleader and instigator. It’s the well rounded building block I didn’t know I needed.
This week, we invite you to notice these moments with those closest to you. Are you unintentionally causing harm by not believing in someone’s truth? Do you need to focus more on validating their words? Are you unintentionally doing the same by blindly supporting everything they do? Do you need to focus more on considerate dialogue?
We encourage you to talk to the people you love and learn how to strike a balance that works for you and ushers in healthy communication and dialogue—both in the big conversations and the everyday exchanges. And we encourage you to spend more time with people who both validate and challenge you. We all deserve people who foster our best selves.