Think about the last time you went through something difficult. You probably wanted to talk to someone about the problem, but you may not have necessarily wanted them to fix it for you or make it go away.
Maybe you just wanted to vent your frustration or disappointment and get some soothing acknowledgment in return.
Support doesn’t require you to fully understand a problem or provide a solution. Often, it involves nothing more than validation.
When you validate someone, you’re letting them know you see and understand their perspective.
The support people often want most is recognition of their distress. So, when a loved one tells you about the challenges they’re going through, they may not need you to jump in and help. You might offer the best support simply by showing concern and offering a caring presence.
Some validating phrases you can use are:
- “I’m sorry you’re dealing with that situation. It sounds so painful.”
- “That sounds so upsetting. I understand why you’re feeling so stressed right now.”