This is a topic that has been coming up lately, so I thought I’d share some food for thought on it today.
When we are facing challenges in life, feeling stressed, going through something that we are trying to figure out how to handle, how to approach, or simply trying to navigate our feelings around, it’s always helpful to talk things out.
Hopefully, we all have someone to talk through these life things with. Having a safe place to verbally navigate whatever troubles we are experiencing is important. Holding that safe space for others is important too.
Sometimes, we want feedback. We want to know what that person would do if they were in our shoes. Sometimes we welcome advice with open arms…..and sometimes……we simply just need to be heard.
Sometimes we just need a safe space to be held for us to speak out what’s on our mind, what we are experiencing, and what we are feeling, without someone trying to fix it. Having this space held is invaluable in being able to release some of the emotion, as well as gaining clarity on how we feel, and what we need to do through talking it out. This is one of the best ways to release emotion and gain clarity versus leaving everything to swim around in our brains, which can feel overwhelming, and amplify the situation.
When we are in those times, we don’t always want advice, or to be told what other people think we should do. In fact, sometimes that’s the last thing we want, and it can feel frustrating to have someone “should-ing” on you before you even feel clear in your own emotions & thoughts.
Advice is almost always given in the spirit of support, even if it’s not what is appropriate for the time, or isn’t received well. We naturally want to “fix” problems if we can, but the truth is that it’s not always appropriate to try to fix. And usually, there’s not much we can to do fix someone's problem. What we would do in a situation is often not the same as someone else.
Sometimes we just want to be heard.
Sometimes we just need to talk it out to navigate how we feel.
Sometimes we just need to express & release our emotions in a safe place.
Sometimes we just need to be deeply seen.
Sometimes we just need someone to hold a space of empathy for us……without trying to ‘fix’ it.
I want to encourage you to voice your needs in this area, as well as ask what other peoples needs are when you are holding space for them.
If you simply need space held for you to talk, without advice, it’s okay to ask for that.
If you want advice, or wonder what they would do in your shoes, it’s okay to ask for that too.
If you are holding space for a friend to talk through something, you know how you can be a really good friend? Ask them what they need. Ask them if they want feedback, advice, experiences from your point of view before you give it. Ask if they simply need to talk it out, without your opinions interjected.
I’ve always been a nurturing personality. My whole life, I’ve been someone that people come to, to talk things out…..it’s why I ended up doing the work that I do. I still have to work on remembering this, because it is my natural instinct to want to find a solution to ease the pain or worry that someone is going through. I have to remind myself that sometimes the best thing I can do to bring ease, is to just listen and hold a place of empathy. I do my best to ask if someone wants advice if I’m unsure. Or I simply ask them what they need or how I can support them. I’ve also gotten much better at being clear in what my needs are when I am in a place of just needing that space held for me. If I want advice, I ask. If I don’t I make that clear, too.
The benefits of this are big. Clearly communicating these needs means that you and your loved ones are more likely to get the support you/they need when life feels hard, and that’s really important. It can also have the wonderful side effect of significantly deepening your relationships, building trust, and creating a deeper level of support in our lives.
As always, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts or experiences in this area!
Wishing you a beautiful rest of your week!