A toddler who falls and scrapes his knee needs a band-aid and a hug, and our reassurance that things are going to be all right.
A friend who is reeling from a challenging health diagnosis needs us to hold steady in the moment of crisis, acknowledge the fear and uncertainty, and reassure her that we’re there for the long haul.
In the face of excessive loads, overwhelm and setbacks, our colleagues at work need reassurance, too – just not in a hug and band-aid sort of way.
They need us to acknowledge their distress and express confidence that somehow we’ll get through this together – that we’ll be all right.
All right doesn’t mean perfect or stress-free. The present may well be painful, the road forward rocky, and the outcome less than ideal. All right means that we trust we’ll have the resilience to make it through, and the strength to deal with whatever comes up.
The most helpful form of reassurance is far more than a blithe and condescending: “There there, you poor thing. It’ll all be better soon.” Instead, it comes from a deep sense of presence, a genuine feeling of care and understanding, and compassionate expression.
Action: There are many ways to be a more reassuring presence in the lives of others at work and at home. Here are four to get you started:
Cultivate calm and steadiness in yourself so you can listen and speak from a grounded presence. Make your own peace with the situation. Limit the drama, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Breathe. Settle down.
Actively attend to the state and concerns of others. When people are seen and heard, they feel reassured that they’re not alone and that their wellbeing does matter to others.
Clarify the facts. Review what you know and what you don’t. Harsh truths may be hard to hear and tough to share; but it’s much healthier to deal with truths in the light than rumors in the dark.
Share stories from the past that highlight resilience – examples of how you or they may have faltered but prevailed in the end.
Quotes Of The Week: During unsettling and overwhelming times, people cope best when they connect with the possibility that maybe, just maybe, things are going to be all right. Feed your peace of mind; and feed it daily. – Patricia Katz
Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so. – Thich Nhat Hanh
The best way out is always through. – Robert Frost
Resource Of The Week: Here’s a link to a brand new article in the Pauseworks Library that expands on today’s theme: Could You Be A More Reassuring Presence?
I encourage you to share the link with colleagues, to print and post the article, or even to make the ideas a focus of discussion at your next staff meeting.
Note Re Future Of Pause: Thanks to all who weighed in with your comments on the future of the Pause ezine. Your input was very helpful.
I’ve now made a plan for 2015; and I’ve got good news and I’ve got good news. Pause will continue on a weekly basis through this year; and alternate weeks will take on a new format.
Every second week, you’ll receive an abbreviated message with a visual quote/image, a short comment, and a question for reflection. Alongside that, you’ll find a News Notes section with updates about the biz.
I’m excited about changing things up, and finding it re-energizing to try something new. I hope you enjoy the change. Let me know what you think.
Tags: appreciation, attitude, burnout, communication, encouragement, focus, overload, overwhelm, Pat Katz, Patricia Katz, pause, perspective, reassurance, Saskatoon, speaker, stress, wellness, workload