The book that contains the story behind the creation of the empathy cards came in yesterday. It has some of the best advice I have read about dealing with difficult situations.
A few days ago a friend mentioned something about a situation being a “little iffy” and I thought it had been awhile since I had heard that expression. The more I thought about it…the more I realized that Life, itself, is pretty iffy. We never know from hour to hour how quickly it can change. Most of us have lived long enough to have experienced this dilemma.
Life Spoiler Alert…Bad Things Happen. This book has some wonderful go-to ways to respond in difficult situations with people who we care so much for but don’t know how to help during the bad times.
An incident happened to Dr. Kelsey Crowe (one of the co-authors) and her little girl, that reaffirms we are born with built-in directions on how to respond and comfort loved ones and close friends in troubled times…but as we become adults…we start criticizing our own behaviors and self-worth. If we find ourselves unworthy of self-love we come to realize that we can’t convey love to others when needed. We must first love ourselves before we can love and assist the ones we want to help.
“One day while in the car on the way to pre-school, Kelsey’s young daughter, Georgia piped up from the backseat, “Mom, what do you actually do for a living?’ Kelsey paused, trying to come up with an answer.
“Well,” Kelsey answered, “I help friends be there for each other when they are sad.”
“Oh,’ said Georgia, “that’s easy.”
“Oh really?” said Kelsey. “What would you say to help someone in need?”
Then Georgia rattled off this list.
Take a minute and read this short list again and consider that Georgia just blew up the notion that helping isn’t an ability we’re born with, or a skill we naturally pick up between learning to tie our shoes and figuring out a glue stick. Sadly, something happens as we grow up. We change from being completely unselfconscious and intuitive about how to comfort someone to being self-doubting, freaked-out messes.
Somewhere along our life journey we have felt rejected or made to feel inadequate in relationships and our two main fears come down to
- I am unlovable 2. I am incompetent.
If we go to try to comfort someone else carrying such low expectations of ourselves…we are already writing the script for more failure. This will lead to those terrible back home drives when we scringe remembering something we said to someone to try to comfort them, perhaps at work or even in daily conversation or wherever and we know we blew it. (Personally…I re-travel down this road around 2:00 am.)
The wonderful authors shared a bookmark list (to keep in our back pockets) to help us start and continue difficult conversations from break-ups, pending divorces, loss of jobs, illness, depression, loss of loved ones, etc.
The one thing I could really identify with from both sides of the bed….being in it and/ sitting beside it….It is best to start a conversation by taking broad generalizations and breaking them down to immediate time-lines. For example:
Instead of saying “How are you, or how are you feeling or doing” simply add “How are you doing right now?” This statement lends itself better to the patient or simply a person you are trying to help in other areas… by condensing the question to the very moment of your conversation.
I remember one time a person stopping by when I had just gotten home from surgery the day before and asking me “How I was doing?”
I remember looking at the individual and responding…“It is good that you asked that right now…because at this very moment I am doing pretty good…two hours ago I would have scared you right out of here… if you had popped in unannounced…and witnessed all the tubes sticking out of me… looking like a human octopus. Tonight I can only hope for the best…but I will probably be looking like something your cat proudly dragged in to show you…but right now, this very minute…I am doing good…great timing on your question.”
I remember we both laughed and it broke the “iffy” atmosphere of whispering instead of talking aloud and laughing. When someone is physically sick or in a mental depression or just suffered a personal loss…now is all that matters….”How are you feeling right now?”
I really do recommend this book…I spent a couple of hours caught up in it yesterday…and found myself taking notes and saying to myself…”Yes…that’s good…that’s a great question…that’s a great answer.”
Along with the book came sets of little note cards, mostly black and white that speak volumes…so you really get a lot for the price of one book.
So until tomorrow…this is one of the little cards that came with the book yesterday: (Isn’t that all we need to hear sometimes?)
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
I would like to take a minute and ask a favor of you. Mollie called yesterday and updated me on her last doctor appointment. Everything looked good on the last ultrasound (the one I went to with Mollie) except…the doctor picked up that the umbilical cord is on the far side of the placenta and not in the middle where it normally lies.
Everything is fine right now and there is a good chance it will continue to be so…However, this is a situation that will need to be monitored closely with several ultrasounds scheduled to make sure the baby is getting enough nutrition to grow…especially now while entering the last trimester. In other words…there is the possible potential for things to get “iffy.”
There are options if the baby doesn’t start growing sufficiently and putting on enough weight…but we are hoping the baby is getting everything she needs and hopefully the worse-case scenario…is that they will do a c-section and deliver the baby a few weeks early… but not too early.
Time will tell…but the power of prayer is so amazing that I would so appreciate you keeping Mollie and the family in your prayers these next few weeks. I will certainly keep everyone abreast of the situation as time goes on. Thank you for being you…the best blog readers and friends there are!