Have you ever just wanted to fix something for someone?
They’ve been hurt and they continue being or feeling hurt
and I want to comfort them and make it better for them.
The TRUTH is I need to get out to their way and let them
have their whole experience.
If or when I attempt fixing them (which is really “fixing”
my discomfort) I am stopping whatever it is they are
Here is a current real life situation…
Someone very close to me has been hurt deeply. We were
having a conversation about the situation last night and I
said something I thought they already knew about.
They didn’t know this piece of information. Their reply, “I
probably did not need to know that.” It brought up more
feelings of hurt and betrayal.
Crap!!! I just added more fuel to the fire that has yet to die
I just apologized. I did not know what else to say and I wanted
to say ANYTHING that would make it better. I wished I could have
hit the CANCEL, ALT, DELETE button, as if I’d never said it at all.
Here is where timing comes into play. (This is really more about
timing and delivery)
Now, I’m super uncomfortable. I’m running on the rat wheel
in my head attempting to find a way to make it different for
them. I’m starting to doubt myself. I’m questioning if maybe I
recalled the information inaccurately.
I could see the anger, hurt, frustration and feelings of betrayal.
I SAID NOTHING AT ALL!!!
I knew I must wait until the charged emotions subsided and then,
maybe, approach the conversation.
When a person is in the heat of the moment and the emotions are high,
the emotions have taken over. There is no conversation to be had
that can be heard AT ALL. I find it best to BE QUIET!
It is better to give them space to deal with themselves however they
need to. Attempting the soothe the feelings or backtrack what has
been said only serves to create other kinds of feelings.
IE: dismissal of the current feelings, distraction of what is happening
for them, disrespecting their process, putting a wedge between you
that creates feelings of unsafety (meaning they no longer feel safe
to share) etc…
I waited until I was asked, “what am I supposed to do with this information?”
Now, I know there is an opening that I can offer some feedback or
solution. I know they are in a place they can receive what is being
I still kept my comments to a minimum and made sure it was being received
the way I had intended.
The bigger conversation came the next day, after some sleep and processing
on both sides. Now, it’s a more organic way of conversing and lends to
greater compassion and understanding.
So many times when we feel uncomfortable with someone else’s emotions
we will do anything to make ourselves feel better and completely
disregard their process.
This is one way to honor them and ourselves.
In a nutshell, here are some tools to consider:
~be mindful of where a person is at
~ask if it is a good time to talk
~know that in the heat of emotions it is BEST to wait
~allow yourself to honor their process, even if you’re uncomfortable
Check out other writing I have posted on this topic and many others.
Please share with others that might like to add to their toolbox.
Marti (Hicks) Forrest