I’ve only read a few self-help style books, but I’m trying to improve my communication style not only in my own relationship but in my new job as a supervisor, so I’ve been on the lookout for something that would fit into that category and this fit the bill.
“Being listened to and heard is one of the greatest desires of the human heart. And those who learn to listen are the most loved and respected.” – Richard Carlson
There are some great things about this book.
First, is the length. The author comes right out and says that nothing bothers him more than a book that takes 300 pages to say something that could have been said in 50. So this is short and sweet, the author gets to the point gives some examples and moves on. I appreciate that being that I like my fluff in fiction and not self-help books.
Second, is the language. Since the author is not a therapist or has a bunch of letters after his name this reads well. The concept of validation is distilled down to layman’s language and it is easy to get. There are some real world examples that help solidify every concept or step and they feel natural with everyday verbage that I could see myself saying.
validation (in the context of interpersonal skills, anyway) is the act of recognizing and affirming the validity or worth of a person’s emotions. Essentially, validation means saying to someone, “I hear you. I get what you’re feeling, and it’s perfectly alright to feel that way.”
Third, for me was the biggest. Just because you validate an emotion does not mean that you agree. I’ve struggled with this one in the past the most. Just because you are acknowledging how a person is feeling and telling them you understand the feelings they are having does not mean that you agree with what is making them feel that way. Validation is not saying you’re right. I still struggle with this but it is a work in progress.
Overall this had some great tips for where to start on your journey to learning how to listen to people differently in a conversation and understand where they are coming from. It pointed out how some of our initial responses to situations, while trying to be helpful, might really invalidate someone’s feelings.
I liked that this was short and sweet and gave me things to work on in my day to day life without all the fluff and fodder I’ve found in some other books of this type. Even thought Michael isn’t a phycologist or therapist I thought his 4 step program and distillation of the information from his many years of therapy was really good and useful.