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I have a hard time seeing others' emotions and thoughts as valid when they differ from my own. How can I do that?

22 Answers
Last Updated: 06/21/2021 at 6:45pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jackie Dross, M.S. Community Counseling


I have a passion for working with people from a non-judgmental, strengths based approach to meet their goals for personal growth.

Top Rated Answers
November 9th, 2014 12:36pm
It is really hard to see things from other people's perspectives especially if we have not experienced those emotions, or that intensity of emotion ourselves.Personally I don't think that 'seeing' there emotions as valid is the concern but rather how are behaviour comes across and how we treat them as a consequence.I think it comes down to being respectful of everyone and treating them as unique and valuable even if we cannot understand and relate to their thoughts.
October 29th, 2014 9:02pm
By accepting the fact that not everyone will think like you. That everyone has their own individual opinion that makes these people who they are. If they thought like you, then they'll just be you. And not someone new to experience and share your life with.
January 2nd, 2015 6:29am
Put yourself in their shoes and look at it from their perspective. Take a minute to look at where they are coming from. What experiences do they have, what things are they going through, how is their life different from yours, etc. When you try to see it through their eyes instead of through your own, you can start to see where they are coming from and why they are feeling the way they are feeling. Feelings are very personal, even if you don't understand it, they feel it for a reason. Try to see that reason and be compassionate about it.
December 17th, 2014 3:01am
I have had that problem for awhile also. I try to "put myself in their shoes" and think how I would respond during a certain scenario. I also periodically check how someone is doing by asking what is on their mind (beware not to do this to often) and check in to make sure I am being a supportive friend. The first step to working on this is knowing that you had a hard time seeing others emotions so good job in taking the first step :)
May 26th, 2020 6:45pm
Most people would say to put yourself in another person's view, but sometimes, it's not that easy. Perhaps being open to new ideas and such would help, but then it all comes down to how do we do that? From our personal experiences and society's influence, it is common for every to have different thoughts, and it's even harder to understand other when it involves something personal. Therefore, the first step is not to understand another person's emotions and thoughts. The first step is always to understand your own emotions and thoughts first. Be able to understand yourself better by listing ideas and thoughts of why you believe so. Second, based on what you have thought, think of how others might think of yours idea. What if they never experienced what you did, what would they think? What are certain flaws in your thoughts (could be none)? This step may be hard since it's hard to identify our own flaws, but it is crucial because it is the second step in order to understand why others may disagree. Third, when considering others opinion, remember to keep an open mind. Think of how you would respond in their place. Think of how you might feel the same way in another situation and etc. I hope this helped :)
June 21st, 2021 6:45pm
I understand where you're coming from on this. While we have empathy and can relate to one another on a basic level, it is more difficult to empathize with and validate emotions that don't match up with our own experiences because we don't know what that experience is like for that person, and how those events caused the different emotions and thoughts that person is experiencing. It's important to remember that everyone has different experiences that they are drawing from. For example, my sister was afraid of ocean waves for a really long time, and I never understood why. I thought that maybe she was overreacting, or maybe that she wasn't really afraid of waves but she just didn't want to get wet at the beach. I didn't know how to validate her experience of fear because it differed from my own. I later learned that when my sister was very young, she was in a boat that capsized because of a large wave, and she was almost killed. I never knew what it was like to experience that, but her fear was a lot more understandable, and I could empathize a lot more with her and validate that fear that she was experiencing. What I didn't understand at that time was that even though I didn't know why she was experiencing that fear, and even though I was not experiencing that fear, that fear was still valid. Even though I still don't know what it's like to be afraid of water, I know what it is like to be afraid. In this way, we can empathize and validate any emotion. We may not understand where these emotions come from, or why they contradict or differ from our own emotions, but we can understand that everyone has different experiences, and we can remember that what they are feeling is real, even if we don't know what that experience is like for them.
October 25th, 2014 10:00pm
Empathizing with another person helps with this. Place yourself in their shoes and ask how a certain situation would play out and how you may feel about it.
November 13th, 2014 11:53pm
Its natural to sometimes feel distant from emotions when you don't fully understand and grasp the nature of other persons emotion. What you can do is empathize with them and try to learn more and you will be able to connect more.
November 16th, 2014 4:46am
The best thing to do is remember that you're not the only person in the world. All people are vulnerable, just like you. By disrespecting them, you may end up hurting them. People are all connected, so if you hurt someone else it might end badly later. Sometimes other people's opinions disrespect us. In this case, you are free to walk away and say nothing to them.
November 18th, 2014 12:41am
To understand others you need to look for a place of empathy in your own heart. Imagine what you would be feeling in their shoes. It may be difficult to place yourself in another situation, but you have to be open and accepting of where people are coming from in their lives. Not everyone deals with things the same way you do, and it's not wrong of them to have a separate way of coping. Their emotions and feelings are just as valid as yours. They may not see your way, and you may not see theirs, but we're all on this journey together so we might as well try to see things from their perspective.
December 8th, 2014 10:20pm
You just need to understand others thinking and there reason to think that. Like you they also have reason for the way they think. You just have to calm and think rationally because wen someone differ from someone, they got angry and get unreasonable. Don't do that.
December 19th, 2014 7:49am
That can be really hard for some people. I think the fact that you want to improve your ability to empathize with others is a really important part. It can also help to do a lot of reading, listening, and watching other people talk about themselves and their emotions. You might have a particular person you want to better understand, so you could take time listening to them, and also seeking out further academic and personal stories on topics that impact them (like specific events/trauma they may be dealing with, or mental illnesses, or personal identities (race, gender, sexuality, etc)). There may also be good resources available at your library or online for helping people practice empathizing with other people and valuing their thoughts and emotions despite differences.
December 27th, 2014 10:12pm
Having empathy in this regard is important, being able to put yourself in someone's shoes and understand (but perhaps not agree) with their viewpoint is a skill that will get you far in life. Sometimes admitting that we are wrong can be a difficult thing to do, but it also presents growth and a passion for knowledge.
January 6th, 2015 3:39am
It can be difficult to understand an emotion or thought if you do not understand someone's viewpoint. At the end of the day, you must tell yourself not everyone in the world is going to agree on everything. Hold your emotions and thoughts true to yourself and realize the other person is doing the same thing. Sometimes it is best to just agree to disagree. This all must be done with the same respect and understanding you would want to receive.
April 8th, 2015 3:11am
Empathize with them instead. Put yourself in their shoes. There are many opinions and emotions people go through that you may view differently during the course of your life, but you will eventually learn to see their point of view. Just listen.
June 30th, 2015 6:53am
By practicing empathy and tolerence, and understanding that we are all different, despite our ideas
August 31st, 2015 8:26pm
sometimes when we have set thoughts beliefs and emotions you can find it hard to accept someone thinks or feels differently, when someone believes one thing that is sensitive to me i.e. they believe self harming is for attention, I become tunnel visioned set on proving they are wrong that their thoughts and opinion are wrong and invalid. After its clear to see that this is wrong but its not something easy to stop everyone experiences it its just human nature there'll be times when people react that way towards you you just may not know it.
November 30th, 2015 7:01pm
If it's something personal, it helps to imagine what you'd think if the situation involved strangers instead. It's easier to see it more objectively. Better yet, think about a similar situation involving other people you knew. It also helps to think of other times people thought like them. What kind of situations were they in? You can think about what kind of factors might lead them to think that way eg their culture, what stressors they have in their life, their past relationships. Don't assume anything though. The best way to know what they're thinking is to ask. It's totally fine to ask why they think or feel that way. It can lead to a constructive discussion you both learn from. A lot of the time the whole thing was a misunderstanding. You also usually find more common ground than you expect.
- Expert in Managing Emotions
April 18th, 2016 8:10am
Compassion and Consideration is needed sometimes when it comes to dealing with others. Lots of times peoples feelings and understanding defer from us. They might be wrong or right but the most important thing is to try to be in their shoes to understand where they are coming from.
May 22nd, 2017 5:54am
Try and have some empathy for the other person and listen to them openly to see where they're coming from. You might be surprised at the insights you gain.
June 13th, 2017 10:22pm
try to look at things from a different perspectives. many thoughts and feelings are formed based on experiences. imagine what experiences that person may have gone through to come up with the conclusions they have. Never invalidate someones thoughts and feelings.
April 23rd, 2018 3:25am
You can do it by actively listening to the other person and understand their part of the situation and also helping them feel supported like you do care about providing whats best for them.