I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better by Gary Lundberg & Joy Lundberg

(New York: Penguin, 2000-05-01), 336

I do not have the power to make anything all better for anyone else. I can offer my help but I cannot make it all better.

The Four Rules of Validation

  1. Listen by giving your full attention
  2. Listen to the emotions being expressed
  3. Listen to the needs being expressed
  4. Understand by putting yourself in the other person's shoes as best you can

The Universal Need
Every person needs to feel that I am of worth, my feelings matter, and someone really cares about me.

Personal Boundaries Are Your Value System in Action
In setting effective boundaries, you must be:

  • Kind
  • Gentle
  • Respectful
  • Firm
    The first three make the last one work.




Summary: I don't have the power to solve other people's problems, even those of my own family. By validating their feelings appropriately I empower them to be their own problem solvers.

  • Validation is not a cure-all. It is a way to let people close to you carry their own responsibilities while helping them feel loved by you to a far greater degree.

Part 1: The Principles

Chapter 1: Principle 1—Be an Effective Validator

Summary: The universal need within each of us: I am of worth, my feelings matter, and someone really cares about me.

  • We automatically think that when someone brings up a problem we must immediately solve it for them.
  • Validation is the act, process, or instance of confirming or corroborating the meaningfulness and relevance of what another person is feeling.
  • When a person is allowed to follow the emotions down as far as he needs to go with someone walking beside him emotionally, then he will bring himself back up.
  • Because you are comfortable with yourself and your own value system, you can listen and learn, and accept or reject what other people say or do.
  • Offering help leaves responsibility with the appropriate person.
  • Personal boundaries are your value system in action.

Chapter 2: Principle 2—Leave the Responsibility Where It Belongs

Summary: I can offer my help, but i cannot make it all better.

  • When you validate others, you are then free of the burden of needing to solve the other person's problems, allowing you to give your full attention to what is being said.
  • We get power mixed up with desire.
  • "Should" and "ought"—two words that strongly imply obligation and expectation rather than choice.
  • How can I help you? Is there something I can do for your? Is there something you need? Is there something you would like me to do?
    • Suggest something you can do.
  • Always remember where the responsibility for the problem belongs.
  • Ask a validating question: What would you like to do?
  • When you offer help you must attempt ot see through the eyes of the other person what is needed and wanted. The only way to do this is to ask nonthreatening questions.
    • I wish I could do that but I'm not in a position to do so. Is there any other way I can help you?

Chapter 3: Principle 3—Acknowledge Emotions

_Summary: People who are listened to and validated will often come up with the right solutions for themselves. _

  • Nobody needs permission to feel, because the emotions are there. The sooner we recognize them the better off we are.
  • Instead of "don't cry or yell" say "I can see you're really upset/sad/angry"
  • Four basic emotions: mad, glad, sad, afraid
  • In order to control the negative effects that emotions can have on our bodies, it is important to be able to recognize these emotions.
  • Too often we unintentionally teach our children and others not to trust their own feelings.
  • Rules of validation:
    • Listen to what is being said and the events being related. Give your full attention to the person who is speaking.
    • Listen to the feelings being expressed.
    • Listen to the needs being expressed.
    • Understand by putting yourself in the other person's shoes as best you can.

Chapter 4: Principle 4—Develop the Art of Listening

Summary: One of the greatest compliments you can give another person is your complete attention.

  • In the art of communications, the primary key is the ability to listen.
  • If you need or want something, ask for it.
  • Appropriate silence can be a great validator.
  • "But" is often an invalidating word.

Chapter 5: Principle 5—Find the Right Time to Teach

Summary: Don't lecture. It takes effort to find times to teach.

  • The heat of the moment is not the time to teach—sometimes it is courteous or prudent to let things pass.
  • Effective teaching can happen only when you are in control of yourself.
  • Sometimes the teaching moment is the experience itself and by belaboring it we diminish its effect.
  • After something has happened that needs to be talked about, finding the right time to follow up is important.
  • Sometimes we say too much, trying to make the point perfectly clear, and we ruin the teaching moment.
  • Teaching a child takes planning and timing. It is important to create an atmosphere that lends itself to learning.
  • Planned teaching times: mealtime, bedtime, family time together, working together, learning excursions, notes and telephone calls
  • Brief is usually better than lengthy.
  • One of the most important things we can do is to teach our family that we love them.

Chapter 6: Principle 6—Learn the Effective Validating Phrases and Questions

Summary: Your intention is to show that you genuinely care about them.

  • Validating phrases:
    • Oh
    • I'll be that's hard
    • That would hurt
    • I think I understandHmmm
    • Wow!
    • That's interesting
    • I'm sad with you
    • That's a tough spot to be in
    • ...
  • Validating questions
    • Oh?
    • How did you feel about that?
    • What did you do?
    • What would you like to do?
    • What happened?
    • Would it help if I...?
    • What went wrong?
  • Validating phrases and questions do not contain any answers.

Part 2: The Application

★ Chapter 7: How Validation Works with Young Children

Summary: All children need to know that they are of worth, their feelings matter, and someone really cares about them.

  • Even a young child can come up with a good solution.
  • For children to mature, they must learn there are boundaries in life.
  • Walk with the child, let her feel whats she's feeling.
  • Getting down on their level physically is an important factor in validating a child.
  • It is important to have a genuine understanding of what the child is going through.
  • A good dose of validation, along with tender loving care, is what is needed most and will serve the child and you best.
  • When we respect children and their desires, it is rewarding to see how well they respond.

Chapter 8: How Validation Works with Teenagers

Chapter 9: How Validation Works with Adult Children

★ Chapter 10: How Validation Works with a Spouse

  • It is important to be able to freely express what is going on inside of you to a listening and caring person without fear of criticism.
  • Validation is walking beside the other person emotionally in what she is feeling.
  • As soon as we start defending we invite an argument.
  • Nothing is ever gained by humiliating your spouse.
  • You teach your spouse how to use validation by using it yourself as often as possible.
  • If you don't validate first, you can back up and do it over.
  • Validating never means giving up your own value system.
  • A lot of conflict will be eliminated if a couple sit down together and decide on their family values.
  • People don't fall out of love, they forget to love their spouse.
  • Setting the stage for times when you can be alone to share intimate feelings will not just happen.
  • Validation can come in the form of a little tender loving care.
  • The greatest gift you can give your children is parents who love each other.

Chapter 11: How Validation Works with Parent and Parents-in-Law

Chapter 12: How Validation Works with Divorced and Blended Families

Chapter 13: How Validation Works with Friends

Chapter 14: How Validation Works on the Job

Summary: I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care.



Created: 2023-06-27-Tue
Updated: 2023-07-03-Mon