How to Stop Arguing About Barbie (and Trump)

You may not agree with the opinions of your parents/children/friends/co-workers, but can you understand why they believe what they believe, if you were to adopt their worldview?

by Brian Curtis, PhD

When we think about communication and deepening our relationships, acknowledging and understanding the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of other people … in other words … VALIDATION … can be incredibly important.

Take a moment to think about someone you recently had a disagreement with.


Was the conversation about politics? Religion? LGBTQ+ rights? Abortion? Finances? Gun control?


During your next interaction with a human, I’m challenging you to run the following experiment:  


Even if you don’t agree with the other person’s specific behaviors, feelings, or opinions, think about all the ways you can communicate how their behavior makes sense, given their perspective on the world.


You may not agree with your parent’s or child's opinions on politics and gender, but can you understand why they believe what they believe, if you were to adopt their worldview?


Sure, you don’t think your romantic partner should be THAT upset … but what would happen if you were curious about the intensity of their reaction, and you asked them to help you understand what was going on?


Think about the last time you truly felt seen and understood by another person.


How did you feel in those moments? Is that type of interaction consistent with the type of person you most want to be? The type of life you truly want to live?


By validating another person, we demonstrate that we genuinely hear and acknowledge their perspective, even if we don’t fully agree with them … or even if we don’t agree with them AT ALL.


Does that make sense?

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