Not What I Expected

No, this is, definitely, not what I expected.

It isn’t like you got up this morning, or any other morning, with the alarm clock buzzing inside your head. Kicking it off your nightstand, you stagger to your feet. Forcing your eyelids open, you look into the mirror.

Looking back at you stands a rumpled post-a-note begging you to add today’s goals or intentions.

OK fine, but they did not include:

The almost humorous bank robbery with a bicycle for a get-a-way car.
Nearly being run over by a car careening through your office windows.
Giving CPR to a co-worker outside the break room. 
Hearing the news the vice president’s secretary didn’t make it.

It probably didn’t include anything like what you experienced. Yet it happened. You were there. You didn’t choose it but now you must deal with it.

Now what?

Acknowledge what happened. Even that it did happen.

Give yourself a chance to grieve and to get the support you need. This could be a trip to the gym; a new pair of shoes; a case of tissue paper; a call to a friend; a mini-therapy session with your dog . . .

Breath.Breath in through your nose. Breath out through your mouth. Repeat until things feel calmer.

Give yourself permission to be who you are in this moment.

Until next time . . . Story Impact: Changing Stories – Changing lives.

It Hurts . . . What do I say?

 

Life has them. The unexpected, shocking, even horrifying moments. Moments where you wonder if your bones can handle the pressure. When tears sear your skin. When breath wrings out your lungs.

The unexpected happens. People rob people. Storms surge. Wars erupt. People die. Words fall empty. Life continues. 

“I wasn’t there . . . This type of thing never happens to me . . . I feel guilty, it should have been me . . . I can’t relate . . .”

What do I say? I know they hurt. I hurt.

You might start by saying: I am sorry this (say the name the event) happened. I am sorry that (say the name of the person) died. I am so sorry that you were robbed. I am sorry that your house got destroyed . . .

Then listen. Listen without words. Skip the inside the head, trying to figure out what you’re going to say. Just listen. It works. When you feel confident in listening, afterward, it’s amazing how the words just show up. Trust. You’ll know what to say. 

If you want to help, do so. Not everyone is going to want assistance or what you have to offer. It’s ok. 

If they do what the help. It’s ok. 

What’s next?

Be respectively directive. 

“I am going to the store tomorrow, what would you like me to get for you?”

“I am going to our meeting on Thursday, would you like me to pick you up at three o’clock?”

“I just made an extra big batch of soup, would it be OK to bring some over after six o’clock tonight?”

Just offering to help and your telephone number might be too much for a person in crisis to fully process. Making what you are able to do for them and what might be helpful to this individual makes it easier for them to accept or decline your offer.

If appropriate, give a hug. Always a nice way to let another person know that you care, especially when words can’t say it all.

Until next time . . . Story Impact: Changing stories – Transforming lives.