So in the wake of my last post the question begs to be asked…
When you see a friend in need, he/she is hurting badly emotionally, how can be supportive and yet respect the process?
1) Clear your own crap first! Make sure that your need to help the other person does come from a place of genuine concern. That you are starting from the heart and not from a need for the other to feel better so that you can feel better. Let’s face it, when we are in a happy bubble it’s disconcerting to have someone breaking down and losing their sh*t right in front of us.
2) Come from a place of fullness and abundance. It is important to be centered, balanced and full of love and compassion when approaching another. If I am not filled up, my need for comfort can turn the giving into taking without us even noticing.
3) ASK! This is the key, ask the person how you can support them. It is so simple yet we often seem to skip this step and assume not only that the other person needs our support, we also assume we know how to support them the best. This is easiest done with the simple question: “How can I support you?”
4) Be patient and listen. When you ask, listen for the answer! I know, it’s not rocket science, yet again we often fail at this step. When someone is breaking down it’s not often you get a coherent answer, so it falls on us to listen extra deeply with all our feelers out. And if the answer is I do not know, don’t rush in with solutions. Rather sit with the non-answer, maybe ask again: “Is it ok if I just sit here with you, if you come up with something you need, please tell me”
5) Hold the space. If your friend is not asking you to go away, then stay hold the space. There are few things as powerful as simply being allowed to be a witness for another. To hold the space, to be there for another without trying to fix the situation but just to sit and be in the storm together.
Now if you are the one breaking down, search your heart, communicate your need. It’s ok to tell someone who invades your space with a well ment cuddle that you do not need to be comforted right now. If you are comfortable just ask the person to sit with you or to go away if that is your need. And as the storm rages the need may change, so change your mind. “I’ll have that hug now, if you don’t mind”
Listen, I love hugging, captain cuddles here remember. But I am also prone to bypass my pain and run away from the real life lessons because more often than not, they hurt, A LOT. It has taken me a long time to learn that there is no greater gift your friends can give you than allowing you to go through your process. If they are really good friends, they will stay with you, hold space and witness as you lose your sh*t and then be there for the mopping up after.
For those of you who do this for me, you know who you are, I love you. You are among the greatest gifts life has given me!