Updated: Sep 28
2020 will forever be defined by crisis and grief. It seems that our society is jumping from one crisis to another. Many of the crisis are not new; they have been around for decades, but continue to repeat themselves. They say, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” Einstein
Emotional intelligence will never be more important as we learn to navigate, listen to, and see each person’s experience without judgment.
For some, the pain and grief are over missed events, funerals, weddings, death of loved ones, or potential illness. For others, the pain and grief are over watching the loss of human life because of skin color, the abuse of power, the oppression, feeling unsafe, frustrated, feeling unheard and unseen, and the stereotyping.
The pain is real for all of us in different degrees and none of it should be denied. The conversations are uncomfortable and are bound to get even more uncomfortable. No one likes to talk about grief and pain.
May I suggest that we get comfortable being uncomfortable?
It’s possible that there will be division in beliefs within families, siblings, and children. These differences do not need to destroy. We can change our perspective, loosen our grip on the lens we see the world through, and begin to see, respect, and appreciate each person’s uniqueness.
Our teens need to see us model appropriate responses to pain and grief. Healing cannot begin until the pain is heard and acknowledged.
How do we begin to get comfortable being uncomfortable with grief and pain?
Listen to understand; not fix: Hear each person’s story without judgment. Listen not to fix but to see something from a different perspective. Be curious. Resist the urge to blame, shame, or criticize. Listen and be present. Listen as if you were a student and needed to pass a test.
Practice Empathy: Empathy is seeing and sharing the feelings of others. This poem describes it beautifully. “Let me hold the door for you. I may have never walked in your shoes, but I can see your soles are worn, your strength is torn under the weight of a story, I have never lived before. Let me hold the door for you. After all you’ve walked through. It’s the least I can do.” Morgan Harper Nichols.
Anger, hatred, violence, & pride keep us from moving forward. Our brains immediately go into fight, flight, freeze when these things are present. When we are interacting from this place, we are reacting from big emotions and we are unable to think clearly or with empathy. This kind of thinking and rhetoric keeps us stuck. We can model better for our teens.
Challenge your own thinking: Even the things we believe to be true. As humans we tell ourselves stories, many are real and many are not, each story comes from our unique perception and experience. If we allow our stories to go unquestioned, things will never change. Ask yourself, how else might I see this situation? Is the thought true? How do I behave when I believe that thought? Who’s voice or perspective is missing from this conversation or thought? What different thoughts can I try on?
Resist the urge to stereotype or politicalize: Being seen, heard, and understood is the beginning of healing.
This is an opportunity to show up for our teens. When we show up for our teens we model emotional intelligence, high-level problem-solving skills, and compassion, which equal security.
If you are a Mom who needs help learning these techniques, I’d invite you to join the Ride the Wave Mama Virtual Membership group. You will develop the tools and strategies to guide your teen as we get comfortable being uncomfortable. Doreen Steenland can be reached at Https:www.LivingFullLifeCoaching.com/ride-the-waves-mama
Another option is a book club being run by a friend. If you want to join the discussion and learn: