Validate others constantly while striving to never invalidate them. And if you do blunder up and invalidate others, fix that invalidation.
What does 'validating' another mean?
Validating is accepting and acknowledging the reality of something.
Validating another person means acknowledging them and, in a practical sense, making them feel 'right' (inherently good) about themselves.
Everyone wants to be right. And, in fact, everyone is right. No one is born wrong. Everyone is born right continue to be right as they grow up. At age 1, they're right. Age 20, they're right. Age 50, they're right. Age 100, they're right. At every age in between, and every age higher and lower, they're right.
Constantly validate others. Let them know that they are right. At every chance you have to say "You're right", say it.
Now, it's obvious that sometimes people 'talk bullshit'. They're 'wrong', aren't they?
Well, no. They, as a person aren't wrong. But their knowledge might not be accurate... or their ability to communicate what they know to be true is low... something is 'off'. But the basic person, the being, is right at all times.
You see, people almost always confuse their identity (who and what they most basically are) with what they have and do. The being that we are is not defined by how we express ourselves.
You can do something completely invalid, and still be 'right' as a person. Everyone messes up. That's ok. It doesn't make you 'bad'. It just means you need to make greater efforts at perceiving, integrating, or executing some aspect of your actions.
People are often told that they're wrong in one way or another, so they begin to literally crave those who treat them as 'right'. Those who remind them that they belong and have every right to be here. Appreciate people for who they really are -- valid, vital human beings. View the essence of people the same way you'd view a newborn baby: innocent and pure -- 'right'.
Right to be heard. Right to dream. Right to express. Right to create. Right to want. Right to need. Right to feel they way they do. Right to hate. Right to love. As a right being that has the rights to create itself and express itself.
View people this way and let them know this in the same ways you would let them know anything. Through your attitude, your words, your body language, your facial expressions, your voice tone -- each and every way you express anything.
When people's perceptions are off or they do something that is wrong, let them know that the perception itself or the act itself is simply 'off' -- that the action is not okay. Never imply that the person is off or not okay.
This might sound a little 'deep', but it shouldn't be. This is an important concept for you to fully implement in your daily life -- not just something to think about during profound moments. Let me give you a slightly silly, everyday-type example, to put this in a more practical frame for you. Let's say someone tells us that Wednesday is "Chicken McNugget Day" at McDonald's, and we know for a fact that it's Tuesday. If we tell them, "hey, 'you're wrong'," they'll defend themselves, and close themselves off to you. Of course they're going to defend themselves -- they themselves are right. People confuse themselves -- the rightness of themselves -- with the things they know and do.
You're right, too. And as someone who's right, it's within your rights to let them know that "hey, THAT couldn't be right. I've been gettin' my McNuggets on Tuesday for the last 2 months. Did something change?"
You let them know THAT couldn't be right. THAT being what they're talking about or referring to. You SPECIFY -what- isn't right. And you must always specify that it's anything but THEM.
If you mess up, and they seem to get angry at you, or close down, simply say something along the lines of "I'm sorry. You're right, you're right. But what you're saying isn't."
I've actually found that I can tell people that they are right, but such and such thing they're doing or saying is not right, without any weird reactions. When you refer to the correctness of someone's self as a separate concept from what they're doing, they almost always understand it with no explanation needed. When you say something like this to someone, they'll generally open up and stop defending themselves. If anything, they'll now start defending what they're saying instead -- or they'll simply give up their argument entirely now that they themselves have been validated.
I know this is kind of funky concept. It almost seems like a bit of a word game, while in fact it's not. It's simply separating people from what they do, and selectively validating or invalidating specifically what someone is doing or saying.
Sometimes people will crave solitude not because they want to 'explore alone', necessarily, but because they're literally 'sick' of 'being made wrong'. No one who's mentally healthy ever tells themselves that they're wrong. They're 'made wrong' socially by other people -- by what other people communicate to them. Such people feel that they can only 'be themselves' and express what they truly are while they are alone, because that's the only time they 'feel right'. When they're alone, nobody is around make them feel any other way but 'right'. When people talk about being able to 'be themselves', either alone or around someone special, the phrase 'be themselves' could be perfectly substituted for 'be right' or 'feel right'. "I want to be myself" and "I want to be right" are essentially the same thing.
When you validate others and are careful to not invalidate them; or if when you accidentally do invalidate them, you are careful to clean up your mess... they'll literally start to feel as comfortable with you as they are when they are by themselves. They'll say things like "I can be myself around you", "I can do things around you [or with you] that I've only ever done alone". If you're looking for a deep, long-term, intimate relationship with someone -- a relationship that can evolve into a fulfilling marriage -- this is an ESSENTIAL key. You can rapidly build intimacy by letting a special someone 'be right' around you.
I also wrote the following material on love and validation. I hope that it's of some use to you.
"Love is a world... made of two. You validate each other. You recognize the deep wellspring of potential within the other... as something real. Something true. Potential that can and will happen. You validate it. You validate -- recognize as real -- their potential."
Instead of invalidating each other.. making each other feel small -- so that we may fit a leash around them -- we make the other feel large. We both make the other feel like a giant.
We have created a world of two. Two giants. And who shall a giant frolic with? Another giant."
Here's something to make the issue of validation a little clearer for you.
A friend of mine recently wrote me, describing an abusive relationship she was involved in. After analyzing everything she told me in the letter and recalling certain key points she had made earlier, I wrote the following to her, in part: "He's invalidating you, to make you small and more controllable. True love occurs when another validates you.
We as beings, as human beings, have infinite potential. There are infinite ways we can and could express ourselves beyond what we are expressing in this moment. Even genetically speaking, our bodies have developed across a span of millions of years to fend off, to conquer any and all obstacles encountered in the wild. We can do anything. We can rise as high as any star has ever risen, and higher still. When another recognizes your infinite potential, when they touch you that deeply, that's a cornerstone of love.
They project new "yous" -- versions of you that you've wanted to actualize -- into the future, and they reflect this in their treatment of you... in their words, their handling, etc. They literally know you are a goddess who can do anything. And you know they are a god who can do anything."
She wrote back to me, in part:
"You are so right. I never thought of it that way. It's so beautiful. My god, you've made me cry."