How many times have you assumed someone needs your help?
How do you feel when someone gives you unsolicited advice?
Through an amazing leadership program, Lynne Sheridan recently helped me become aware of the difference between support and help. Support conveys an eye-to-eye “we are equals” relationship. Help conveys “you need fixing” or “I am better than you.”
I got to practice this today. My 7-year-old son and daughter were fighting. In the past, I would’ve intervened and appointed blame. Today, I stepped into curiosity and offered support.
I asked questions and assured them that we are on the same team. “What are you feeling right now? What is occurring between you two right now? Oh, you feel anger? Where do you feel the anger in your body?”
My kids don’t need my help. AND I get to be available to them as they move through their life journey. I get to support, not “instruct”.
And, I recently messed up. I called my brother to apologize for how I behaved toward him in the past. We’ve had a turbulent relationship since as long as I can remember. During the phone call, I gave him unsolicited advice. He became upset.
My intention for the phone call was to create connection, responsibility, trust and curiosity with my brother. As the conversation went forward, I lost touch with my original intention and I slid into the intention of being right, feeling tired, and being in control. I messed up. The conversation ended with both of us far from connection, responsibility, trust and curiosity.
I reflected on that conversation. I challenged myself by looking at what worked during our talk and what didn’t work. I didn’t go into self-criticism, but I did set an intention to show up for my brother differently next time.
Two days later, he called me. I apologized for not being fully present during our last conversation. I apologized for interjecting my opinion of him. I shared with him that I am 100% responsible for the status of our relationship. I told him that my intention going forward is to be present, loving, supportive, connected and curious. He loved that last word. Curious. He said he would really like for us to be present and curious when we converse. I felt a weight lift off my body. I sensed that my brother felt it, too. We said, “I love you” and that we would talk again soon.
This is a big shift for me. Professionally, I am gentle, open, connected and strong. In my personal relationships, I have been distracted and bull-headed. Being responsible for the status of my personal relationships is a growth opportunity for me. In the past, it was easier to blame disconnection on the other person.
I get to unlearn how I was parented. I get to show up for my loved ones without offering unsolicited advice. I get to ask questions. I get to be fully present (not preparing my response to their words). I get to love fully.
And you. You get to love fully. We get to support one another on this journey. We don’t need to fix one another. No one is superior.
Since you read this letter to the end. I would love to support you by offering a remote 30-minute Awakening Freedom Exploration Session with me as your guide. Learn more and book HERE!
I’ll be right there with you.