Closed Heart, Fixed Agenda

Closed Heart - Fixed Agenda - Cheryl Woolstone Counselling Blog

You can be right or you can be in relationship:

Take your pick.

Let go of the attachment of being right and suddenly your mind is more open. You can benefit from the unique viewpoints of others without being crippled and limited by your own judgment.

When we move away from the need to be right and the necessity to have our perspective dominate the relationship then we are ready to learn the art of validation.

After a couple is solid in the skill of mirroring, it is important to introduce the practice of validation. This deepens the experience of the IMAGO Dialogue.

Validation communicates to your partner that you can see the information from their point of view and can accept it has validity, that it is true for your partner.

Suspended Animation

Validation is a temporary suspension of your point of view. The intent is to stop your home movie from playing long enough to see what is playing on your partner’s screen.

“But I don’t agree!”

This is often a stumbling block for couples.

You do not have to agree with your partner in order to validate them. What you have to do is listen carefully enough that you can affirm your partner’s internal logic. Everyone makes sense if you attend carefully to their reality.

In essence, what you are telling each other is, “What you’re saying makes sense to me. I can see how you are thinking, and why you would think that way”.

Not so simple.

We all aggressively defend our separate realities. It might be connected to our fear of loss of self.

If I see it your way, I will have to surrender my way. If I feel your experience, I will have to invalidate mine. If what you say is true, then what I say is false.

When you suspend your point of view for a moment and stretch to see your partner’s reality, wonderful things start to happen.

Because your world view is no longer being challenged, you can start to lower your defenses and relax. We all want to know that the person we are most attached to really likes and values the way we think.

This is how the IMAGO Dialogue builds a bridge between a couple and deepens the connection. To be listened to and mirrored in the absence of reactivity and blame, to be validated and  hear that our thinking makes sense are the first two steps in the process.

The third and final step is Empathy which follows on the heels of Validation.

I will discuss the power of empathy in the next post.

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This entry was posted on Friday, July 2nd, 2010 at 8:48 PM and is filed under IMAGO and Relationships. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Closed Heart, Fixed Agenda”

  1. VTR1000 lady Says:

    July 17th, 2010 at 4:50 AM

    Great blog! much appreciated.

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