Unsolicited Advice

Stop and think for a minute about what happens when your partner comes to you with a stress or problem in their life.

How do you feel?  Do you feel anxious because you don’t want them to feel unhappy?  Do you feel worried about how the situation might impact on you or the family?  Do you feel like it might be your fault?

What do you do?  Do you try to help them out with some suggestions?  Do you try to show them the bright side? 

These are normal reactions, however research has begun to show us that despite being normal, they aren’t necessarily particularly helpful.  It turns out that when people are stressed, what actually helps them calm down is connection.  What research shows we are looking for when we are afraid or stressed, is someone to hear and understand us.  And when someone does that, just listens and asks questions about how it is for us, it also communicates a deeper message – I believe in your ability to work through this.

So the next time your partner, or your child, or your friend comes to you with a problem, just notice what happens for you and see if you can hold off on the advice giving until it is requested!

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