“When you’re anxious and you need encouragement not direction.”
This was the realization of one of Holly’s clients, whom we’ll call Linda, one day while retelling a story of a panic attack. She shared how her boyfriend had been supportive, recognizing her distress. “I know what to do: I need to calm down, I need to breathe…. What I need him to do is witness and walk through it with me.”
So, how do we become witnesses for those around us in the midst of anxiety, fear, or simply a bad day? All you have to do is listen and tell them why it makes sense. Try adding these to your routine vocabulary:
- That sounds hard.
- It makes sense you would feel that way.
- I hear what you’re saying.
- That was a tough position, you were in a tough place.
- There sure is a lot of emotion connected to this.
- This is complicated.
- No wonder you feel this way.
- I’m listening.