My word for 2021 is shift. Like everyone I know, I’ve learned a lot, since this time last year. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that change and uncertainty just are. Since I’m not in control of much more than which yoga pants, Zoom-appropriate top, and slippers I’ll wear each day, I needed to figure out how I could deal with all the change and uncertainty. That’s where shifting comes in.
For me, shifts involve acceptance and adjustment. I know I don’t have much control, but I have unlimited choices. I can shift.
Some of my recent shifts have been pretty significant. Some have been tiny. Some haven’t happened, yet. And I’m sure I’ll make a lot of shifts I can’t even imagine.
So many people are hurting. And so many want to help. Have you ever wanted to say something to someone you care about who’s in pain, but haven’t been sure what to say? Or have you ever been in pain and been dumbfounded by what well- intentioned friends say to you?
I want to reassure people I love. But sometimes, in my quest to make them feel better, my words might leave them thinking I’m not honoring their pain and fear.
What say we create a group shift here? In your experience, what words do you find to be the most and least helpful to offer and receive?
I’ll start with a few examples.
Millions of women have experienced miscarriages, along with their spouse/ partner. “Well, at least you can have more children.” is NOT as helpful as, “That must hurt a lot. I’m sorry.” That’s an easy shift.
When someone is suffering the loss of a beloved, “It’ll take time, but you got this!” isn’t nearly as helpful as, “Take your time. I’ll be here to listen, whenever you want to talk.” Again, Shift.
And when someone is despondent or depressed, “Everything happens for a reason, or the sun will come out tomorrow.” might not help as much as, “You are not alone. I’m here.” Simple shift.
Your turn. What are some examples of shifting words of comfort? I look forward to learning from and shifting with you. Deep and humble thanks, in advance.