Share your magic
I always like to pass along information that I find helpful. For the people in my circle who are educators or in the social services, this is likely something you already know and use, but it came as news to me.
In a recent article written by Jancee Dunn I learned what feels like a magic question. Here’s the scenario: Someone (adult or child) you care about is having a moment, an emotional outburst. You want to help but you’re not sure exactly how. It’s not clear to you how to proceed and, to make matters worse, you’re starting to feel yourself respond in kind.
Here’s the magic question: Do you need a hug, or help, or just to be heard? Abra-freakin’-cadabra! Why didn’t I know this decades ago? It sure would have helped.
Sometimes when I’m upset, the last thing I want is for someone to start troubleshooting for me – Well, have you tried this? I know a guy… I read an article… That is not what I’m looking for in that moment, and, in fact, it usually makes me feel worse. Other times when I’m upset, that is exactly what I need to hear. Still other times, a reassuring, loving hug is all that will feel right. In the right moment, the feeling of comfort and care and calm in a warm embrace brings just the pause that’s needed. And then, there are those times when I don’t want a solution or a hug or anything else like that. I just want to vent. We all need that sometimes. We’ve all had the experience of feeling overwhelmed, overwrought, overworked, over it, and I just want to gripe out loud because that’s the only way it gets out of me. Even our language around that mood expresses it – to vent, to let off steam, to blow my top, blow the lid off. When this mood bursts out, it’s a necessary release valve.
It should go without saying – but just to say it clearly anyway – our emotional outbursts are on a continuum and any outburst that leads to harm or injury of self or others is not in this category.
Of course, you aren’t going to reach world peace with this question. It’s not THAT magical. But it sure is a good question. It’s a good communication tool, and it covers a lot. I invite you to introduce it to your relationships and to practice incorporating it in your own self-care.