When we see someone we love going through a challenging time, we can feel a strong urge to do what we can to support them. However, we can sometimes find ourselves confused around how we can support loved ones, or we may even develop our own stresses by feeling responsible for the happiness of others. So how do we extend a hand to those who need it, without being pulled into the current with them?
The SKATTLE team believe that the best way to assist others, while still caring for yourself, is to hold onto the idea of being ‘decentred and influential’. What does this mean, exactly? Well, the act of being centred gives focus to your own knowledge. When you are providing support to someone, you base your actions around your own thoughts, knowledge, feelings, or opinions. You may give advise, or assist others in ways you would want to be assisted.
While being centred is not an inherently bad position to take, it can encourage us to take on more than we need to. When we focus on our own knowledge, we can put pressure on ourselves to have all of the answers to the problems that others have. We may even feel more helpless or invalidated when we are unable to heal the hurt that our loved ones experience.
However, talking to our loved ones from a decentred position can lift this burden from our shoulders. When we are decentred, we are focussing on the knowledge of our loved ones, rather than our own. When others come to us for help, we sometimes forget that they are the ones having the experience. Only they will know the ins and outs of their thoughts, feelings, and actions.
When we are talking to others, you may find yourself directly asking more questions about their experience of a situation, rather than assuming that you already know. You might find your conversations exploring what is important to those around you, rather than looking at your own thoughts or values. You might chat about the kinds of solutions have worked for them in the past rather than delve into your own history and experiences.
By tapping into our loved ones own skills and knowledge, we not only remove the pressure we place on ourselves, we also empower them in the process.