Have you ever shared how you’re feeling about a situation and the person with whom you’re speaking responds with “Yeah, but…”? “Yeah, but it’s not so bad. Yeah, but that’s not how it really is.” Even if their intentions are to be helpful, the likely impact of their response is one that negates your feelings about your lived experience.
Try this experiment: this week, when a colleague, employee, friend or family member voices a concern or complaint, expresses a fear or disappointment, notice the number of times you reflexively reply with, “Yeah, but…”
When you catch yourself in the act, stop talking and take a breath. Then, instead of negating their feelings about what they’reexperiencing, validate them by naming the emotion you hear them expressing. Use comments like, “You sound disappointed, worried, sad, hurt.” Name the emotion they’re expressing. Validating another’s emotions helps them feel cared about, and enables them to move past anxiety, fear, or frustration so they can refocus and be more productive.