Thoughts on fostering growth through empathy
- a blog for parents -
Have you ever talked with a friend about a problem and had them offer you solutions? Did you find their suggestions helpful?
If you're anything like me, being offered solutions to my problems has typically not been helpful and often did nothing to eliminate my feelings of anxiety and worry. I just didn't talk about my worries...which didn't really help, either.
Often, what we need is someone to listen to us - empathetically, without judgement and with no attempt to offer solutions...at least not until we feel ready to ask for suggestions to solve the problem.
But, the hardest thing to do is just listen and be with the anxiety and struggles - the uncomfortable emotions - of the other and just empathize and validate their experience. So, naturally, we offer solutions. If only it were that easy.
And, of course, our kids need this too. When they're worried, anxious or feeling uncomfortable feelings about a particular situation, they need us to see them, hear them - empathize and validate them - and NOT offer solutions.
Not sure that's true? Try it and see if it helps!