I see you, I hear you
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship” Brene Brown
Recently I was offering a friend who was having a hard time emotionally some help, and her reply was – “you have already helped me enough in seeing me and hearing me”. Her response was a great reminder for me to be curious of the ‘helper/rescuer’ in me. It can be tempting to offer to help others out of a hard time, yet is the pure offer to help perhaps putting our judgment and projection on their situation? In offering help, are we missing an important opportunity for the simple gift of seeing and hearing a person in their struggle and allowing them the opportunity to just be with and accept their experience as it is. Afterall, is a tough time really to be avoided, when it often breathes life to a new awakening or resilience within us?
How can we truly see and hear a person in suffering? It can often be easy for us to see and hear that another is suffering by looking at them and hearing them as they speak to us about their troubles, but, depending on our perspective on life we may hear different things which may influence or be a trigger for a particular response, which actually then becomes about us, not about the person in struggle. When there is struggle and suffering there is often drama, and the three main positions to take in a drama triangle are, perpetrator, victim and rescuer. When we take on any of these positions, we are either taking away others power or giving away our power. Let’s look at this in more detail:
Perpetrator – often cast as the person who has wronged another (taking away others power)
Victim – the person who has been wronged by ‘the perpetrator’ (giving away their power)
Rescuer – the knight in shining armour coming to rescue ‘the victim’ (taking away others power)
As a listener we can take on any of these positions. We could take on the perpetrator role by joining in on judging the person in struggle for feeling the way they do, belittling their experience, etc. We could take on the victim role by being judgmental of the perpetrator and aligning ourselves with the one in struggle, perhaps by condemning the perpetrator and focussing on how wronged ‘the victim’ was. We could take on the rescuer role by helping the victim out of their struggle and often doing for them and ‘fixing’, rather than enabling them to do for themselves.
When we view the person non-judgmentally and see and hear them in their own struggle, not one like ours, but their own unique struggle we can be that of the witness. The one who can witness the struggle, the suffering. The one who can see and hear and give, non-judgmentally, when asked, within boundaries that maintain the power of the one in struggle and maintains our own power. Through bearing witness, we can offer our own energetic strength to be seen and to be a lighthouse for others in their storm. How do we do this? Just like a lighthouse we shine a light.
We can hear the person in struggle and see them. We can communicate what we see and hear to them:
“I hear you are having a hard time right now”
“I see you are really struggling with that at the moment”
Sometimes just that is enough. Other times there may be a sense that asking questions to coach them could be required:
“Do you get a sense of what’s brought this on?”
“Do you get a sense of what you may need?”
“What would happen if…. (you didn’t want everything to be done right away?/accepted another’s’ words as just their point of view? Etc)”
Perhaps have a play with seeing and hearing as a witness – this can be a felt sense of being neutral. Be aware of any strong reactions/needs/wants that may occur for you. A strong response may be an indicator of jumping into the drama triangle. If you find yourself in a drama triangle, step out, and remind yourself that perhaps, we just need to be seen and heard non-judgmentally, to give us the validation we need to move forward in our own time. This in turn re-ignites our resilience and learning.
If you would like to book a private session with Crysal, do so here
As published in The Inspired Guide Issue #17