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Wait…How do I help someone who’s struggling and needs support?

Ever feel at a total loss as to how to support someone in their time of need…? That has happened to me more times than I can count.

When I feel at a loss, I want to run away really, really, really fast so that I can not feel at a total loss – out of sight out of mind right? I feel like there is nothing worse than wanting to help but feeling like I have no ability to do so. 😢

In this current climate of COVID-19 we are challenged to rise to the occasion of reaching out and helping others more than ever. It feel safer to sit back and hide, but I believe we are all called for higher and better skills to continue to build our communities and relationships- even when it feels super scary to do so.

Let’s build our skills and habits in this area so that we can support those who need us most. Let’s work like never before to build our connections when we are going to be challenged by social isolation. Social distancing does not have to mean we stop interacting and caring at the highest level we can.

For this skill building I always turn to Brené Brown for immediate assistance. According to Brené, empathy is a skill we can all learn. Warning: Brené also says it is scary and messy and feels very uncomfortable when we start building our skills. So, be ready for the ride!

Here’s a quick checklist (these are direct from Brené’s book Dare to Lead) of WHAT TO SAY ☀️ to express empathy and to help someone who is struggling and needs be seen, heard, and understood (and don’t we all need more of that everyday!).

1. Oh, man. I feel you.

2. I know that feeling and it sucks.

3. Me too

4. I see you. You’re not alone.

5. I’ve been in a similar place and it’s really hard.

6. I think a lot of us experience that. Either we’re all normal or we’re all weird. Either way, it’s not just you.

7. I understand what that’s like.

HINT: The above 👆🏼 works like a hot damn when you are in a conversation with your spouse/loved one/child (esp teenagers!) and you want to feel more connected to them or you want to be able to influence them positively!!

Here’s what NOT TO SAY (also direct from Dare to Lead by Brené):

1. You’re so sensitive

2. I didn’t realize you’re so fragile.

3. I didn’t realize this was such an issue for you.

4. You’re so defensive.

5. I guess I’ll have to watch what I say around you.

6. It’s all in your head.

7. You seem really hostile.

To add in some of my own items that don’t EVER work…Anytime we use YOU statements we will distance ourselves from others. You statements can be hurtful and make others defensive.

Instead, ask others how you can support them…ie: What do you need? How can I help? What do you want me to do to support you or understand better??

Go forth and connect Optimizers! You’ve GOT this!

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