When you can spare five minutes, please use it to watch this touching video. It shows interaction between Naomi Feil, who developed what she has termed Validation Therapy for older people with cognitive impairments and dementia.
In this video she is administering Validation Therapy to Gladys Wilson, an elderly Alzheimer's patient who is non-communicative. The basic principle of the therapy is the concept of validation or the reciprocated communication of respect which communicates that the other's opinions are acknowledged, respected, heard, and (regardless whether or not the listener actually agrees with the content), they are being treated with genuine respect as a legitimate expression of their feelings, rather than marginalized or dismissed.
Don't we all crave such acknowledgement and validation? Don't we all deserve this?
This need isn't limited to those who are elderly or sick or suffering in some way. Indeed, I believe needless suffering is often created as a result of the lack of validation and acknowledgement by other human beings.
To be acknowledged is to be seen, to be heard. We can acknowledge another person with a simple smile or greeting rather than look beyond them as though they do not exist.
Whether it is a loved one, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, a clerk or server, strangers on the street or the bus, validate their existence with a hug, a smile, a "hello" or wave, or simply make eye contact. Acknowledge that you see them.
Truly listen when others speak, rather than formulate your reply without hearing them. Acknowledge that you hear them.
The simple act of validation and acknowledgement can change lives, and it's something every single one of us has the ability to do when we encounter another human being.