[00:00:00] Welcome to today's TLC. Whether you found this podcast on my website, through the emails I send, or simply from a friend, I'm glad that you've decided to add some TLC today.
[00:00:17] Hello, my beautiful friends. You know those moments when your body is just so alive with emotion, but it's not excitement or intensity of joy; it's just that deep gratitude that fills your whole body, where you just can't help but tangibly feel it in your fingers and your toes... where you just feel so grateful.
[00:00:44] I am in the middle of that feeling and the reason I'm feeling so grateful is because someone that I love has been going through a very, very difficult time. And in the moment of trauma in the moment of trial, I was able to hold space with this person because of the tools that I have been given and been trained with. And it just fills my soul with gratitude that I knew how to hold space with them. And as I've been thinking about what I want to share with you recently, that's a gift that I want to give you at least a piece of today.
[00:01:23] So often over the years I've been trying to help people. Even as a teenager, I used to call myself the journal because all of my friends would randomly tell me things and I wasn't sure whether I was being helpful or whether it was making it worse, what I was doing. And obviously as a teenager, I didn't have the skillset that I do now. But over the years, I've seen that grow and evolve into knowing when it's appropriate to listen and when it's appropriate to help. When it's helpful to feel and when it's helpful to think.
[00:01:57] And there've been a few key learnings that I've had as I've really been helping people that I will share with you in a moment. But first I want to share the most important thing that I've learned so far and it's this:
[00:02:12] *There is no predictable formula to know how to show up for someone in their time of need or how you need someone to show up for you in your time of need. There is no one size fits all approach. *
[00:02:26] And this has been really overwhelming for me at times, because I'm a person who really likes things to have a system or a plan, but there really is not a script. And there can't be because our situations are all so different that helpful connected support has to be case by case basis.
[00:02:47] *Now I do have good news: even though there is no one size fits all there is one who knows all. *
[00:02:56] That means you don't have to know how to solve any of their problems. You don't have to know what is the best step for them. You just simply have to be open and willing to be guided by the one who knows all and channel his light that will guide you to know what to say and what to do.
[00:03:17] I know this to be true because it happens to me all the time.
[00:03:22] So often I'll think I need to help a client in one certain way, but then I'll open up myself to that guidance and I'll feel a resistance to the direction I was going to go and a pull towards a different way. When I feel that light guiding me from within the results are often so much better and more beautiful than I could have ever created with the support that I thought that I should give.
[00:03:45] So the number one thing I want to invite you to do is practice knowing what that guidance feels like. It can be as simple as inviting that guidance as you're talking to your children like I shared in my podcast about guidance when you feel stuck.
[00:04:01] *Another obvious but often overlooked place to practice is through opening your heart in sincere prayer. *
[00:04:08] Sincere prayer before, during, and after you support someone is the most powerful tool that you can use. Period.
[00:04:19] Okay, now that I've soapboxed about that a little bit, I also believe in informing your intuition so that you have knowledge to draw from while you're being guided.
[00:04:31] So let's add a little to your intuition today with what I like to call the three phases of support that conveniently spell the word, add. A.D.D *Acknowledge. Detangle. Do. *
[00:04:46] For the sake of clarity, I'm going to share with you as if you're the one offering support to someone, but I also want you to be thinking about the type of support you're receiving and which people in your life are helping you do these three phases of support.
[00:05:02] *So let's start with acknowledge. *
[00:05:04] Somewhere in the back of my mind, I hear Stephen Covey's voice saying, "Seek first to understand then to be understood." Although he was talking about communication, this is a universal principle that applies to anyone looking for support.
[00:05:20] People want to be heard. They want validation for what they're experiencing and they don't want to feel alone in their struggle. Especially if it's the first time that someone sharing something vulnerable, holding space without judgment for them to just share can be so powerful.
[00:05:40] This is also important to understand about the way that we experience emotion.
[00:05:45] If we refuse to acknowledge our feelings it's like a beach ball that we're pushing down in water until the pressure builds so much that it explodes. You have to allow what is going on to be looked at for you to then decide what you want to do about it.
[00:06:02] One of my all time favorite children's book it's called The Rabbit Listened.
[00:06:07] It's about this kid named Taylor who was building something, something new, something special, something amazing, and how proud Taylor was. But then, the book shows that out of nowhere something comes in, wrecks what Taylor was building, and things come crashing down.
[00:06:27] The book then talks about how a chicken notices and the chicken just wants to talk, talk, talk about it but Taylor doesn't want to talk. And then the bear comes and the bear wants to Gell and shout and the elephant trump-a-da knows just what to do. And it goes through these different animals and how they respond to this traumatic experience that Taylor has. The hyena laughs. The ostrich hides. The kangaroo tries to clean it all up. The snake wants to go knock somebody else's down. It goes through the different emotional experiences of what other animals are trying to tell Taylor is the solution to Taylor's problem. But Taylor doesn't want to do any of it. And they all leave Taylor alone.
[00:07:12] How often do we feel that way? People come to us trying to give their solution to our problems and we just don't have space for it because it's their solution and they haven't heard what's going on for us first.
[00:07:26] The pivotal part in this book. Is when Taylor is quietly sitting, crying, and doesn't even notice that a rabbit comes and snuggles up right next to Taylor and they just sit in silence together.
[00:07:40] Taylor eventually says, please stay with me... and the rabbit lessened.
[00:07:46] Because the rabbit creates that safe space, Taylor then starts talking and shouting and remembering. Taylor shares plans to hide, throw everything away, and ruin things for someone else.
[00:08:00] Then comes my favorite part of the book. It says, "Through it all the rabbit never left. And when the time was right the rabbit listened to Taylor's plans to build again."
[00:08:14] "I can't wait," Taylor said, "It's going to be amazing!"
[00:08:19] The ultimate goal of supporting someone is to give them that space so they have the courage to build again.
[00:08:26] To build something amazing.
[00:08:28] But we have to acknowledge the hard first.
[00:08:32] Intuitively we know this, because we want to go and share whatever went wrong with whoever will listen to us. But there's a difference between sharing in a connected and helpful way, and sharing in a way that just adds to the drama.
[00:08:47] In therapy and coaching we like to call this clean pain versus dirty pain.
[00:08:52] Dirty pain is when you call up your girlfriend because somebody was so rude to you and your girlfriend says, "Oh, I can't believe that they did that!" And you both are like, "Right?! This is so terrible!" And you just sit and gossip about what happened. Somebody just getting in the mud with you and you both are just playing in that mud. That's dirty pain. It's not going anywhere.
[00:09:14] Dirty pain usually has a lot of stories, things that aren't true, or perceptions that you blow up to be bigger than they really are. Dirty pain also blames everybody else and doesn't take ownership.
[00:09:26] Clean pain focuses on you, how you're feeling, and what's going on for _you_.
[00:09:33] When you experience clean pain, it's like the feeling and the energy goes through you and then out instead of getting stuck in you and building. In my experience, clean pain requires honest feeling. And dirty pain... you just have to be willing to talk.
[00:09:50] As someone offering support, one of the ways to help people stay in clean pain is to bring it back to them. A conversation comes to my mind that I had with one of my clients whose husband was struggling with pornography addiction and kept going past the boundaries that they had set. She was very frustrated in the session that we were having and felt completely justified in telling me all of the things that he was doing wrong. But I knew that that was not going to be helpful. So with love and compassion, I simply invited her to bring it back to her:
[00:10:24] "Yes, I know that he was doing those things and that must have been really hard for you. What were you feeling? What did you do next? Do you like how you responded there? Are you still feeling that way?"
[00:10:41] Bring it back to the person that you're supporting.
[00:10:44] Like I said earlier, you do want them to feel heard and understood, but you don't want to add fuel to a fire that's not going to be helpful.
[00:10:53] Another simple check to help what the acknowledge phase, is making sure that you as a support person are tapping into empathy instead of just sympathy.
[00:11:04] Brené Brown has a fantastic video short about this where there's someone who has fallen in a hole and is struggling in the dark and another person pops their head over the top of the hole and says, "Hey, how are you doing down there?" The person in the hole shares what they're struggling with. And the one on top says, "Well, that sounds hard. Do you want a sandwich?"
[00:11:26] That's sympathy. Saying what you see, but not emotionally connecting.
[00:11:32] Empathy is climbing down into that hole with the person and tapping into something in you that feels similar to what they shared in them.
[00:11:42] First we acknowledge what's going on—really tap into that heart and what they're feeling. Then that will give more space for *the second phase: detangle the truth from the story. *
[00:11:56] This is the phase of being more aware of the mind.
[00:12:00] One of my favorite tools that I have as a parent is this book called The Whole Brain Child (I love it so much). And they talk about how you first have to connect with a child, then you can redirect. So that's what you're doing with the person that you're supporting, you connect with them and invite a redirect. And this redirect is where we clean up the things that aren't being useful and refocus on what's true and what's helpful.
[00:12:26] For example, if someone is sharing with you, "I just have so much to do. My to-do list is so long and I have to take my kids to this thing, finish this report for work, make dinner tonight..." and they rattle off their to-do list. In that moment, you can acknowledge that and say, "It seems like there's a lot going on for you right now. And you feel kind of overwhelmed." That's phase one, acknowledge.
[00:12:51] Then you can invite the truth by saying something like this:
[00:12:55] "Do you really have to do those things?"
[00:12:58] And they'll give you a bunch of reasons why they have to, "Oh, well, if I don't do this with my kid, then they're going to hate me forever. I'll get fired if I don't do that or report for work. And we have to eat tonight. So yeah, I have to do all of these things."
[00:13:11] But if someone believes that they have to do something... how do they feel about it? They feel stuck. Maybe resentful. Feels more like a chore.
[00:13:22] _But truly we don't ever really have to do anything. _
[00:13:27] God has given us choice. We get to decide what we do each day and reminding the people that we support, that they have choice and owning that choice can be so empowering.
[00:13:41] You don't have to feed your kids. You choose to, because that's the type of mom you want to be.
[00:13:47] You don't have to do that report. You choose to, because you appreciate having employment.
[00:13:53] See how cleaning up that "have to" lie can give you more space to choose what you want to do?
[00:14:01] *And that's phase three: decide what to do next. *
[00:14:05] With an acknowledged heart and a detangled mind, the person you're helping will have so much more clarity to decide what to do next.
[00:14:14] We know this is true because how we're thinking affects how we're feeling and actually drives us to do useful things and move forward, which is probably why the person came to you asking for support in the first place. So you can take this phase wherever you want to, wherever you feel that guidance to go next. Remember we're checking in with that guidance as we're offering support because honestly we don't know what's best for the people that we support. But gratefully we've created a cleaner space to be able to feel that guidance as we inform our intuition.
[00:14:48] On that note, in the do phase of support there are _three vital things_ that I use.
[00:14:55] _The first thing, bring it back to today._ If you're helping someone who's in trauma, or who is feeling flooded with emotion, their brain will automatically fast-forward their fear to the future. They're going to think about all the things that could go wrong and want to own it now. But that only makes them feel the consequences before they even happen. And they might not even happen!
[00:15:20] If they do want to focus on the future, help them create a vision that is peaceful and empowering to them. Bring it back to what they want to do today while honoring who they want to become tomorrow.
[00:15:35] _The second thing I strive to do in this phase of support is to invite them to do self care._ Self care is a quick win for people who are experiencing intense emotion. It gives them the confidence that they have their own back and that they don't have to rely on the people around them to help them feel better.
[00:15:55] It can be as simple as taking a mindful breath, or walking out your front door and just looking up at the sky for 30 seconds. Whatever it is. Invite them to honor themselves and honor that they've experienced something intense today.
[00:16:13] When we draw from that well, we need to refill it. So bring them back to the present moment and help them do something for them today.
[00:16:24] That brings us to the last thing at the last phase of support. _But it is not the last priority._ Once you have this clarity where you've acknowledged, you've detangled the lies, and you have some plans of what to do next, _bring it back to God. _
[00:16:44] There is a tangible freedom and peace that comes when you know that what you are doing is sanctioned by the Spirit — that you are honoring God's path for you and you have Him on your team as you walk forward in faith. There is nothing else that can give you that same confidence.
[00:17:04] That's the light that I'm always talking about, that helps you be re-centered on what really matters and navigate whatever bumps come up along the way.
[00:17:15] The people you support might have different values than you, but you can invite them to check in with that light. Once you've made a plan, just ask them how they feel about it. If they feel aligned with it. Even if it's just one simple thing that they're doing today. It doesn't have to be big. You don't have to solve their problems. Honestly, you didn't.
[00:17:37] If you follow these three phases of support, you really didn't solve anything for them.
[00:17:43] You just gave them space to feel heard.
[00:17:46] You invited them to own their story and let go of the lies.
[00:17:51] And then you gave them an opportunity to choose what to do today.
[00:17:55] That's it.
[00:17:56] Sometimes we just need a support person to nudge us in the right direction. It doesn't have to be scary to help other people who are struggling when you invite God to guide you along the way and you remember to add to your intuition.
[00:18:11] *A.D.D. = Acknowledge. Detangle. Do.*
[00:18:18] *If* this really resonated with you, I also invite you to find people who can support you in this way. You deserve to be *Acknowledged*, to have a "rabbit" who will listen. You can find true healing when you are willing to experience clean pain and connect through empathy.
[00:18:39] You also don't have to be a victim of your story. Find ways to *Detangle* the truth from the lies so you can remember that you get to choose and feel empowered by that choice.
[00:18:52] That will lead you to know what to *Do* next. And that is so freeing, especially when you take care of yourself, bring your plan to God, and feel His guidance along the way.
[00:19:05] I feel so passionate about these things because I'm better able to help the people that I love. And I want you to have that too.
[00:19:15] Thanks for listening today, friends. I keep shining.
[00:19:19] Life after therapy can be simple. Come learn how to think, light feel light, and live light at www.thelightcoach.com. I offer five free discovery sessions each week and one of them is for you. Together, let's discover the joy that's possible. In life after therapy.