People don’t always need advice…Sometimes all they need is an ear to listen and a heart to understand.
Earlier this week I learned that two sets of family members living in two different cities in Texas had lost power during the night and with lots of snow and ice all around them, the temperatures were not going to even come close to hitting double digits. As I listened to the news, the information was not good. The power could quite possibly remain off for 24 hours or more and another storm with ice was expected to hit within hours. No doubt this problem was not going to be resolved quickly and the challenge of staying warm, cooking food, and damage to landscaping and water pipes appeared likely.
Hearing all this, caused my mind to go to “fix it” mode. You know that mode where you brainstorm and try to figure out what you can do, how you can fix things for those you care about, and that mode where you become largely aware of how uncomfortable it is watching your loved ones struggle through this experience? There must something that can be done or said to make it all better, right?
But what if there is not…….
What if the best action we can take is not to try to fix or manipulate the outcome but to simply allow the other person to know that we care and we are there for them? What if before saying anything or trying to do anything, we just listen? When it’s time to speak, what if the best thing to say is something like…. “This must be so scary/challenging” or “What a difficult time this must be for you,” or “I believe in you, and I’m here for you”! What if instead of giving advice or trying to make it all go away, we supported them by offering ongoing encouragement, without advice?
Recently a friend learned that her friend was just diagnosed with terminal cancer. My friend can’t fix it or make it better. When my friend asked her friend how she can best help during this time, her friend replied, “Keep checking in and have conversations with me… don’t try to fix or cure me.”
A coaching client shared this week that her child who she gave birth to, showed love to growing up, and has always wanted the best for, is using dangerous drugs. “How can I make him stop, she asked”? You can’t, but you can listen, you can continue to show love, and sometimes you may have to give him the space he needs to figure it out.
Who are the people and situations that you are trying to fix or make better, but it’s not your job?
What circumstance are you trying to solve, control, or manipulate?
What advice are you giving that hasn’t been asked for?
One of the hardest things in life is to allow those we love to figure circumstances out for themselves without advice and without trying to solve their dilemmas.
For it is in these adversities that they grow, and they learn how to fly!
Every day, I help individuals and families create sustainable boundaries for their lives and relationships. If you are struggling with circumstances that are keeping you awake at night, I would love to have a conversation with you.
You, your life, and your relationships always matter!
Prayers for all those affected by the recent storms!
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