The past two posts introduced the idea that guidance and insights, from those you choose to discuss challenges faced during change and transition, is preferable to advice.
To recap, it is my belief that advice is like a directive or strong suggestion to do that which is advised, where guidance is an invitation and insight offers observations about our change or transition that we might not be able to see ourselves.
At this point you might be saying to yourself something like, “Sure, it’s helpful to clarify the definitions and what types of feedback are more beneficial than others, but the people in my life who need it the most aren’t the ones reading this post. How do I get the kind of support I want from the people in my circle?”
The answer can be condensed into one, simple technique. Tell them what you need. But before you can do that, you must first actually know what you need. Figuring that out is the focus of today’s post.
Now, it might seem like a super-simple “no-duh” concept to tell people what you need, but I assure you it is not.
Do you put on a happy face?
It is very easy to put on a stoic face, or try to make light of our struggles. To assure others that we’re doing just fine, and can handle anything that comes our way by ourselves. And when we do this, others might believe us, or they might worry and decide to take matters into their own hands by offering advice based on what they think we need but haven’t yet considered.
Is putting on a happy face really in our best interest when we’re trudging through a difficult change, facing the uncertainty of what seems like an excruciatingly long and endless transition? When we’re wondering if we can pull off what we’re trying to convince others we’re capable of, or if there really is light at the end of the tunnel? I say no.
Connection is crucial.
Researcher and storyteller, Brene’ Brown, talks about connection as being the “reason we’re all here. It’s what gives purpose to our lives.” And during times of change or very personal transitions, we face yet another paradox of change; that when we need and can most benefit from authentic connection with others, is when we have the greatest tendency to put on a mask, and/or hide from it.
Some posts in the near future are going to highlight aspects of Dr. Brown’s work on vulnerability as it applies to change and transition. But for today, let’s look at two of the basics in identifying the type of support or solace that will be truly helpful to us.
1. With whom do you find solace?
I use the word solace to represent people we seek out to share our experiences, who tend to offer some form of emotional assistance, whether in the form of advice, guidance, insights or otherwise. It is synonymous with support.
The kind of solace we receive may or may not be what we’re looking for or need, but it represents those people in our lives with whom we care to share. We may not actually even want feedback from them, but until we tell them what we do want, they’ll likely feel compelled to provide it.
Who have or do you call on when you're in need of solace? It might take some thought to think of the different people who have provided us with comfort, so take your time. At this point it doesn't matter if the solace you receive from each person is fulfilling or not. That will come in the next step. For this step, make a list or mind map to reference for later.
2. What kinds of solace are most fulfilling?
To find solace for our troubles, we must first be able to recognize it when we see it.
To follow a trend from my recent posts, I believe it’s important to understand our own personal definitions of words we use, including our own word for solace. Whether support, a shoulder to lean on, or another word, what is most important is to understand what it means to us. Because if we don’t know what we’re seeking in terms of support or solace, it is unlikely we’ll be able to find it in others.
Solace can come in many forms, and sometimes one form is far more helpful than another (more about this tomorrow).
Once you’ve recognized the types of solace you typically seek, write them down. Tomorrow we'll use what you've discovered to create a roadmap for use in your Solace Plan.
What is most helpful to you? Share your experience.
In the mean time, what characteristics do you find are most effective in providing you with solace? For me, I seek out people who let me know that they accept me as I am, and who can be counted on to offer encouraging words. How about you? Share your perspectives and let's have a conversation!
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
**Please note RSS Feed not compatible with Chrome without an extension.