One day, my wife called upset. She is not a crier but was crying. The specific circumstances aren’t important. She was crying and I was determined to do what I often do which is solve the problem. She let me know this was the wrong thing to do.
“I don’t need your help! I don’t need to be fixed! I need to be listened to.”
I was reminded that sometimes people just need to be heard.
Sometimes, people want you to listen and ask questions that show your concern.
They are upset by what happened. The upset of the moment fried their circuits and they need to release the pressure.
That was true of my wife.
That has been said to countless others who wanted to be listened to.
Sometimes, talking to an older individual, male or female, who instinctively you want to reach out to, who sees you and cares about you and isn’t trying to fix you is what you need.
Speaking the words that make no sense and all the sense can be cathartic. They have been living between your use, burrowing into your psyche like a squirrel hiding notes for winter. They need to be fumigated.
Sometimes, speaking the words releases a flood of emotion is overwhelming.
Imagine it is like a pussy wound with a Band-Aid over it, festering under the Band-Aid and growing more progressively disgusting.
Once you were the Band-Aid off and expose it to the light of air, it has a chance to heal.
Being the person who is witnessing it can have a profound effect upon you, too.
What’s most important is that you give the gift of listening and accepting their trust in you while they reveal the secret.
If you have something to say, start by asking, “Can I ask you a question,” in the softest voice you can imagine. I say that because of the profound vulnerability they feel. It is abuse to force your opinion upon someone. Hence, asking for permission is important.
Offering the gift of holding space for another person can be life-changing for them.
If you don’t think this happens in the workplace, you weren’t paying attention to the opportunities around you. You are missing these moments.
Lest you think that it is only women who need to release their feelings at times, men do, too. Their anger, anyone’s anger, often masks their hurt just like the hurt or sorrow someone is expressing is masking their anger.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV, and 90+ smart sets.
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