Hold Your Tongue and Offer Your Heart Instead
When someone is in the “Yellow Light” state of anxiety and fear, there are ways to help — none of which involve offering complex advice. Instead, we can understand what is really needed. Warmth. Listening. Echoing back that we hear what someone is telling us. And that we recognize their inherent human goodness. Helping can be very simple. We don’t have to change the world. We have to lean in and co-feel with someone.
“After Mom died, I got messages from other well-meaning people who thought they knew how I should deal with my grief. One person even reprimanded me for sharing my grief as openly as I did on my blog. She thought that I, as a public person, had an obligation to my readers to write with more positivity. She was also afraid that I would ‘attract’ more bad things in my life if I prolonged the grief and didn’t think more positive thoughts.”
“I had the same reaction every time unsolicited advice showed up – I bristled. When I’m feeling emotionally grounded, I can brush off those things that don’t feel helpful, but when I’m vulnerable, as I was then, I tend to bristle.
“When my mom was dying of cancer, I occasionally got messages from well-meaning people who wanted to offer what they thought was valuable information about how mom could cure her cancer. Eat raw food, take more vitamin C, stop drinking milk – all of those suggestions and more showed up in my inbox….”