I’m learning how to better communicate with my family and friends. Most recently, I learned how often I like to rescue and react when someone comes to me with distressing emotions.
So, hypothetically, when my pre-teen begins to share about her day, I go into rescue mode. Then, I react with all sorts of dramatic emotions (not surprising!). I want to solve the problem, help by my intense emotional reaction, and immediately provide smart strategies. I want to enter in to her emotional states.
No! This doesn’t help her!
I learn that instead of rescuing and reacting, responding and rejoicing serve the other person best.
I’m invited to respond with empathy (You seem confused, worried, sad, or angry). I might even share how one might normally feel to help the person clarify how she’s actually feeling. (I can imagine someone feeling jealous, lonely, or scared).
Then, and this is the missing piece for me, I learn to ask, “What did you do? or How did it go?”
How did you handle that?
Then, I remember to rejoice with every decision the person made on their own. This kind of conversing empowers others, releases them to feel in control of their emotions, and keeps the drama to a minimum. It tilts the emotional drama back to peaceful rejoicing.
For those of you moms out there who share my emotional intensity, remember the 2 R’s: respond and rejoice. Instead of react or rescue, we respond and rejoice.