If we can’t handle our own reactions to seeing someone in pain, we may try to solve each others’ problems with advice, information, or volunteering unwanted services.
We’re here to hold space for each other to reclaim our agency and solve our own problems – not to fix, rescue, or save each other.
Unsolicited advice can be is insulting – everyone here is smart – so they’ve probably already thought of and tried your first brainstorm ideas.
Explaining why this advice won’t work forces targeted folks to disclose private info on how this situation is different than your aunt’s-friend’s-dentist who had a similar problem.
Even if with good intentions, unsolicited advice demands emotional labor. Let’s not force folks who are already having a hard time to defend themselves and their choices.
Instead – listen and respect each other’s lived experiences.
Share our own similar experiences and emotions – without attempting to adjust another’s experience or feelings about their own obstacles.
Ask ‘are you looking for advice or resources?‘ Get consent before suggesting your solutions.
The group norm that is super important to me is “Acknowledge, welcome and make space for discomfort” and the one that makes things feel most accessible is “Replace judgment with curiosity.” Fear of judgment can really stop me in my tracks, so I can definitely list/share more easily when keeping this one in mind.
* listen/share (not list)
That’s insightful! I usually assume *I’m* the one being a judgemental asshat, but that’s a great point – if others know how curious I am about the stuff they do (particularly when I don’t understand it) I think it takes the bite out of the risk of showing up as our full selves and sharing our ideas and perspectives.
Another member chose “Cheerfully disagree” as a group agreement for this summer, and I just realized it’s right in line with the idea of replacing judgement with curiosity. ‘Cause both cheer and curiosity are linked to joy!