In my last post, I talked about the different forms of challenges; the ones we take on ourselves vs. the ones that are dumped on us. Dealing with any kind of challenge can be stressful, whether it’s a good challenge or a bad one. Some people prefer to wear their superhero cape and put the weight of the world on their shoulders, without getting any help from anyone; others not so much. Some people tend to think that any kind of a challenge or change they’re dealing with is theirs and theirs alone. Often they withdraw away from friends, family or any support that is available. We can’t force people to let us help them.
For the times when people are willing to let us in what can we do to help? How can we help them lessen their anxieties? I don't think anyone enjoys seeing other people suffer. I am certainly not an expert or a doctor; I’m merely someone who is observant. What works for some won’t always work for others. These are simply my observations.
1 – Lending support and positive encouragement is a good thing, but don’t constantly put the person on a pedestal. They’re human and they will occasionally fall (we all do) – building them up so high could result in an unsuspecting fall.
2 – Give people the space they need to process whatever it is they’re dealing with. Don’t try to solve their situation or overcome the challenge for them. For it to work they need to accomplish that themselves.
3 - Be a good listener – follow their cue and hope that when they’re ready to talk they’ll let you listen. Sometimes people can answer their own questions in time. Often they just need to talk it through out loud.
4 – It’s o.k. if it’s not you that can help them through whatever they’re dealing with. Don’t be afraid to suggest someone else you think may connect better and be able to give them what they need.
5 – Know when to walk away. If someone is dealing with a challenge that doesn’t involve you and you cannot help them, it’s o.k. to back off. Hopefully when the time is right and you can help, they will let you.
What has your experience been? When have you been able to help someone through a challenge they were facing? Or if the shoe were on the other foot, how did someone help you?