REFLECTING BACK THE CONTENTS AND FEELINGS OF OTHERS MAKES THEM FEEL RESPECTED AS A HUMAN BEING.
When a brother or a sister is feeling strong emotions, what he or she needs, first, is freedom to feel the feelings and acceptance from you, not for you to solve his or her problem.
Responding effectively means offering support through allowing others to express their feelings. General statements intended to reassure others often devalue their feelings and implies that others will be normal once they stop feeling what they are feeling: such statements that deny others the right to feel include: “Time heals all wounds;” “You’ll be okay;” “You are hurting yourself with your anger.”
To validate others’ feelings, you don’t have to feel what they are feeling. As you listen, offer concise encouragers like, “I understand,” and “Please go on.” Demonstrate that you accept the other person’s feelings and invite him or her to continue expressing himself or herself. You may briefly offer personal experiences to empathise but return focus immediately to the other person.
Reflecting back the contents and feelings of others validates their feelings, shows that you are listening actively and makes them feel respected as a human being. This can be achieved through statements like: “It appears as if you were really surprised by his actions. Is that right?” “What I’m sensing is that you feel more hurt than angry. Am I close?