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: (more…)