I think we have all been there, our son, daughter, or someone we care about comes to us and says, “I am not smart enough!”, “I am not pretty.” “I can’t do anything right!”
And before they can even get the words out, we are like, “Oh yes you are! You are the smartest young man I know!” or “You are very pretty.” “You can do it and you will!”
We grab at the low-hanging fruit thinking “I got this!” and in our haste to make them feel better, we do the opposite.
We invalidate their emotions and tell them they are wrong about how they feel.
When someone says they are not smart, pretty, handsome, good enough, or right, it is because in their mind; they are very troubled, frustrated, or may even have a logical example that backs up their statement.
They are not wanting to be changed.
They are expressing what they feel now and reaching out for connection.
I had always assumed they needed me to step in and make it right.
Not so, they are wanting to be heard, understood, and do not want to be told what to do.
They are needing to hear their voice.
They are attempting to reduce anxiety and stress by talking it out.
What I choose in this situation goes a long way to determine who they are, how they see themselves, and what direction things will go.
The more they can talk about what is going on inside, the better they begin to understand themselves.
Ask gently curious questions to help them.
"How long have you been thinking this way?"
"What else can you tell me about this?"
"What do you need from me?"
Gently curious questions provoke them to seek and process what they are facing.
We must remember that this is not the time to debate their feelings but to encourage and support them, to drill down and help them identify what they are experiencing.
After the conversation has ended, I suggest waiting a minimum of two hours, then going to them and asking a question like, “Remember when you said you were not handsome, would it be okay if I did not agree with that?”
Letting time pass fosters connection; now they can hear what they could not hear earlier, which will very likely dispel some of the anxiety they experienced.
I have to remind myself; that safe listening, ‘gently curious’ questions and time are keys to helping others alleviate anxiousness, allowing them to hear who they are.
Keep looking for the blind spots and building a better you.
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Blind Spots in Relationships
What I don't know I don't know about myself
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