Previously, I gave you my best technique for expressing your emotions healthily – if you missed it, read it here, it’s really good – and said I’d follow it up with…
How to deal with others when they’re “having a moment”.
Here’s how it might look:
– Your boss is angry – oh my God, he’s going bananas! – because you didn’t get that quote out on time
– Your Mother is in floods of tears because your Dad forgot her birthday
– Your best friend is stressed out to the max about a job interview
This person seems pretty inconsolable and you’re wondering how on earth you can make them feel better and stop the shouting/tears/anxiety – you can hardly just walk away! No matter what their age, they’re all just SCARED KIDS and what they need is your compassion, acceptance, and offer of support.
Here’s what to do: FIRSTLY you need to understand and remember that they’re reacting out of FEAR. When a person reacts (“negatively”) to an emotion it’s because they’re frightened.
– Your boss is worried that you won’t get the order and his figures will be down and you could lose the customer – he’s sh*tting himself about that and that’s why he’s hopping mad.
– Your Mother suspects that your Dad doesn’t love her the way he used to and maybe this means their relationship isn’t what it was – she’s sh*tting herself about that and that’s why she’s crying.
– Your friend is terrified that she’ll mess up the interview and won’t get this perfect job that she’s been training for since she left school – and she’s sh*tting herself about that.
SECONDLY just the same as I advised for how to deal with your OWN emotions, you need to ACCEPT that this person is reacting. You need to remain unemotional yourself and, at the same time, try to see things from their perspective. DO NOT tell them to hush or say, “There’s no need to be upset!” – this is the absolute worst thing you can do! Don’t say anything that suggests they should stop reacting.
What they need is VALIDATION that they have every right to be angry/upset/anxious. They need to express their emotion, and know that it’s OK to do so. You can say something like, “I can see that you’re angry/upset/anxious and of course you are, anyone would be.” Or, “You have every right to be angry/upset/anxious, I would be, too.” This simple act of letting them react will often help them to feel calmer.
THIRDLY it may help them to verbalise what’s going on for them right now. You can ask them, “Tell me what you’re thinking.” Or, “Tell me how you’re feeling.” (If they’re already yelling you won’t need to do that, lol.) Whatever they say, don’t disagree with them, it’s not for you to tell them what they should or shouldn’t be thinking. Just make affirmative noises (OK, yes, I see) and nod, but without giving your opinion. This will help them to understand exactly what it is they’re emotional about and to know that it’s OK to think or feel it.
FOURTHLY ask what you can do to support them. This scared kid needs to know that you’re on their side. You can ask, “What can I do to help rectify this?” or “How can I help to make this better?” Your boss will be a bit happier knowing that you’re keen to sort out the mess you left him in. Your Mother and your friend will be glad of your emotional support and will feel better just knowing that someone has listened, understood, validated how they feel and is there for them.
1) Come from a place of compassion and remember that they’re a SCARED KID reacting out of FEAR
2) Validate their reaction: “It’s OK that you’re angry/upset/anxious, anyone would be.”
3) If they’re not already doing so, ask them to verbalise it: “What are you thinking/feeling right now?”
4) Ask how you can help to make things better.
What situation are you in that you’d like to move forward with? I’m a life coach, you see. I help people to move from whatever situation they’re in, to whatever situation they’d like to be in. If you want to talk about what’s going on with you, get in touch. I’ll reply back usually within a few hours, and we can sort out a quick call (for free) where we can decide if working together would get you right where you want to be – how good will that be?! Don’t be shy, get in touch.