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I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better: Six Practical Principles that Empower Others to Solve Their Own Problems While Enriching Your Relationships
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I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better: Six Practical Principles that Empower Others to Solve Their Own Problems While Enriching Your Relationships

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  665 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
In their weekly radio show and in their popular workshops, Gary and Joy Lundberg have already helped thousands of people and their families to communicate more effectively. Now, the Lundbergs address an all too common dilemma that arises when others expect you to solve their problems for them, showing readers how they can shed the no-win role of "fixer" and empower people
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Penguin Books (first published August 1995)
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Feb 10, 2008 rated it liked it
I don't read a lot of self-help books, but this one was calling out to me. And believe it or not, I think about the things it taught me all the time.

Mostly it is about being a good listener. . . and that most of the time when people are coming to you with a problem, they don't want your help or advice, they want validation. Meaning you don't have to fix their problems, you just have to let them know that, yes, what they are going through really is tough and that you care about them. Brilliant a
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
After reading some well-written and some not-so-well-written books about human psychology and interpersonal communication, this book was a breath of fresh air. Rather than trying to appeal to the audience with buzz words and 360-degree paradigm shifts, this book made sense on a practical level for all sorts of situations. The first part of the book is essentially about codependency without ever using that word.

To summarize briefly, the book teaches how to respond to other people's problems in a
May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is a life-changer. I read it in bits and pieces and have tried to digest it and make it a part of who I am and how I respond to people. It has already changed the way I treat my children. I have a really long way to go...Something is better than nothing, I guess.
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
Wow! This book just crossed my path for a moment, and I am so glad I took the time to read it. I am constantly feeling guilty either about not being able to help when I want to, or about being manipulated into helping when I don't want to help others solve their problems. And I know I need to work on being a better listener. This book addressed the issue of being a great listener, validating others, and keeping healthy boundaries in a respectful way.

The first section of the book introduces the
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book. I can't recommend it enough for "fixers" like me, who really do just want to make it all better. Practical advice that works to help heal relationships and to keep hurt feelings and misunderstandings at bay. I have begun to incorporate the principles espoused in this book and I can tell you they work beautifully. I believe reading this has saved my relationships with my daughters. I can't put it more strongly than that. Most times people want validation of their feeling ...more
Janet C
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-read
This should be mandatory reading for every parent. Commonsense approach for learning to walk beside someone but not take on their issues. This is our 5th copy. We originally purchased this book in the late 1990's. We have given 4 copies away to friends and have had wonderful feedback. Just dealing with our adult children, we find we have to reread this to know how to support them emotionally but not solve their problems. Wish I had had this book while raising kids!!! Excellent! Truly a good read ...more
Jul 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents, family members, friends
Recommended to Grandma by: Cindy Brown
I am learning how to respond to husband, friends, family
when they ask for advice that you don't do a put-down but instead a validation. It is okay to start out using the words: how, what, when, where, do and is, but do not use why.
Then you ask them if they can think of an idea that would solve the problem. It even works on children.
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: brainy
IT's the love and logic book for adults and other relationships. I need to read again.

-no advice, make people figure it out on their own
-teaching moments come later, not in times when the emotions are high
-ask questions to help them come to own solution.
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I am re-reading this book, and will probably do so again and again, because I have so much to learn from it. It is an excellent read for anyone who wants to empower those they love, improve communication skills, and bring peace to relationships.
Apr 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, self-help
I think the first half of this book (the discussion of the six principles) could have been condensed into one reference chapter. I almost didn't even finish the book because I was annoyed at the unnecessary stuff at the beginning, but my friend had told me how much she loved the second half, so I forged on. This book is all about validation--learning how to listen to people without jumping in with a judgment or a lecture or a solution to their problems. It aims at teaching the art of helping peo ...more
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a very informative book that I think had some really great advice for dealing with people in general.

The premise of the book is to help you move from being the "fixer" or "saver" of everyone's problems. Though I certainly don't feel myself as a "fixer" or "saver" there were some instances that I found myself trapped in. It was great to finally get some word lines to get myself out.

According to the author, it's human nature to want to try to fix everything, but in actuality, most people
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book has been so helpful and has application in many areas of life. For me, it has given me tools to be a more present and caring mother and wife. And I am confident that my new understanding will impact my interactions with all people for the better.
This book teaches the principle of Validation. Validation allows you to walk emotionally with others without attempting to change their thinking. It's also realizing that we cannot make someone choose a path that we see as best. The words "sho
Did not actually read this book, but I found the title irresistible and discovered a handy summary in the back. Woohoo!


Validation is "the ability to walk emotionally with another person without trying to change his or her thinking or direction."

"4 Rules of Validation:
Listen (by giving your full attention)
Listen (to the feelings being expressed)
Listen (to the needs being expressed)
Understand (by putting yourself in the other person's shoes as best you can)"

"The universal need of every human
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! It's one of the most helpful relationship books I have ever read.... Just read it for the second time.
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was a little hard to get into at first. Roughly the first twenty or so pages were rather slow and boring. After that it started to get better (much more innovative, thought provoking ideas). I really liked the basic ideas that were included here: that everyone wants to feel loved, that their feelings are important and they just want to be heard. That makes a difference with how I talk to others now (letting them talk, letting me listen more, ask better questions and validate their feel ...more
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious, self-help
“Validation empowers others to more effectively solve their own problems.”5 Giving advice is the easy, common and unhealthy way of controlling people. It’s like telling them: “I don’t think you’re smart enough to figure this out, so let me just share my wisdom with you.” When I’m frustrated I just want someone to confirm that it’s okay to be frustrated and then the reassurance that I’m strong and smart enough to find and implement my own solution.

When we make the assumption that we have more pow
Amy Stilgenbauer
This was a hard rating for me. I wanted to give it 3 stars because while the advice was good a lot of the examples were so stereotypical as to feel stifling. Teen girls were sassy. Teen boys were sullen. Men were clueless about what their wives did all day, etc. Not to mention that one passage that almost blamed women for being abused because they "finish their husband's sentences for them." The concept of people bottling emotions when interrupted could have been achieved without that statement. ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: skills-how-to
Good how-to book about the power of validation & good listening. I feel like if I mastered this skill, that Natalie would think I suddenly became the pinnacle of all husbands since the beginning of time.

The best part of the book centers introspectively around why we react in certain ways to things people say. People wouldn't bring up problems unless they recognized my above-average problem solving skills and wanted my exceptional advice, right? Apparently women all over the world are bangin
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I spent several months reading this book, picking it up every now and then to read a chapter and the moving on to something else. It's really a quick read (if only I would have focused) and it's very useful information for anyone, especially those who struggle with relationship boundaries or needy/demanding/troubled family or friends. I plan to keep this in my personal library and refer back to it every now and then. It has already made a difference in the way I communicate and approach problems ...more
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book!!! I. needed to read this book.. I was already familiar with this trap of trying to always fix people. The principles in this book are soo easy to apply and will improve any relationship. There are chapters on application from young children, teens, adult children, spouses, in laws and coworkers. I am constantly more aware now of my responses and reactions to others as a result. The interesting promise is that as you apply these principles in your own interactions with others t ...more
Kevin Hanks
Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book. The advice they give for interpersonal relationships really resonated with me. My favorite thing about the book is that they teach one simple principle (validating another person's feelings), then they repeat the same advice over and over again. It was a very effective way to teach! The repetition came in the form of examples, with specific conversations and how it would sound: This is what validation sounds like when speaking to a colleague, this is what it sounds like with a child, ...more
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wish I were perfect and didn't have to be reminded that validation is such an important element of any relationship but I am not and I do. This book appealed to me when I saw it in Goodwill's book section but I didn't buy it. Afterwards, I kept thinking about it and decided to go back and see if it was still there. After an initial search, I became frantic because I couldn't find it among all the non-categorized books loading the shelves. I thought someone had bought it or moved it around and ...more
Jonathon Jones
Mar 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Like a lot of books in this genre, it has a good idea, but the idea doesn't need to be a book. So what we get is about a chapter or two of the basic concept of what validating is and how to do it, and that you are not responsible for solving other people's problems, and then 200 more pages in which they explain how to do it in a bunch of different scenarios. Spoiler alert: it's all basically the same. There's no real difference in how to validate friends rather than people at work, for example. ...more
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book provided a lot of good sense like validating people's feelings and not feeling responsible to or trying to fix people's problems. You can help steer them to their own solutions. One key to communication is to listen, listen, listen and understand. Obviously, we all need to be better listeners. It had some good helps to be patient and you can change the outcomes for situations by validating people's feelings rather than telling them yours. Also, we need to communicate our boundaries to ...more
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-read
WOW! This is seriously one of the best books I have ever read! As I started reading this book, I kept thinking that this is exactly what I need to be applying in my own life with my spouse and children especially. Everything was quite profound and powerful. I am so excited to start applying the principles learned immediately. This is a book that EVERYONE needs to read. We are all trying to solve everyone's problems, but what we really need to do is step back and listen and validate. What an eye ...more
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book has really great advice that applies to parenting, marriage, and literally all other kinds of relationships. It did a really great job of showing how you can help people with their problems without those problems becoming yours by empowering them. It shows the great importance of validation and how much impact it can have on your communication and relationships. The book is very reader friendly with a nice layout, and lots of specific and helpful examples. I would recommend this book t ...more
I learned a lot from this book. It has helped me have better parenting skills, when it comes to childrens problems. I don't feel like I have to fix them. Sometimes just listening with out giving any in put is more helpful than anything. Children can figure things out when given a chance to talk it out. It also helped me adopt a "I don’t have to make it better attitude”. Which has helped when children are having a grumpy moment, or just have bad attitude.

This is one book that I will be picking u
Kelsey Yates
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I successfully used the techniques in this book this evening. I would pair this is Boundaries by Cloud. However, as Boundaries is written specifically for evangelical christians, this book is not so targeted. This book is freeing in that it explains that I have neither the responsibility nor the capability of fixing someone else's problem. To be fair, not even a highly trained doctor can make your broken leg all better. If there is a death in your friend's family, you cannot make it all better. ...more
May 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book taught me how to effectively communicate with my husband. It teaches how to choose the proper moment for a discussion, how to validate, and much more. I truly believe everyone could benefit from reading this book. It is universally applicable to all types of relationships. A real eye-opener.

As a sidenote, I bought this book back in 1999, after Joy Saunders Lundberg spoke at our ward Enrichment night. She taught many of the principles from this book at that meeting. It was very enlighte
Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009-books-read
What an amazing insightful book. I always try to make everything better and now I know I am just wasting my time and breath! There is so much in this book to apply to my life it is a bit overwelming! I highly recommend it for esp. the family members in my life that are just like me and try to make everything better instead of just listening without unwanted advise giving. This is so hard! Great book! I am going to need to re-read a large part of it again because the things in the book do not com ...more
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Gary is a licensed marriage and family therapist and co-author, with his wife Joy, of their popular books on relationships, I Don’t Have to Make Everything All Better, Meeting Amazing Grace: Wisdom for all Families and In-laws, Love That Lasts: 14 Secrets to a More Joyful, Passionate, and Fulfilling Marriage, and their pocket-size book for youth and young adults On Guard! Seven Safeguards to Prote ...more
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