Career Change

Please don’t say, “You Should…”

Posted in Broken Relationships, Career Change, Caregiving, Grief and Grieving, Illness on November 13th, 2008 by Jim Hughes – 5 Comments
Ban "Should" from your vocabulary.

Don't say "You Should."

“You should…” is the last thing you want or should have to hear from friends and family during a difficult season.

Yet when our lives are in chaos because of the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, a lost job, or a serious illness, it seems to be the natural reaction of those well-meaning folks who want to help us.  You see, it’s part of the faulty co-dependent gene that most of us have floating around inside us that makes us feel like it’s our duty to fix people.

But as this quote from Louise Hay says perfectly, the “You should” statements are extremely harmful — not helpful.

“You see, I believe that should is one of the most damaging words in our language. Every time we use should, we are, in effect, saying “wrong.” Either we are wrong or we were wrong or we are going to be wrong. I don’t think we need more wrong in our life.”

When we’re in difficult seasons, our lives are dominated by chaos and grief.  We’re simply not capable of accepting and acting on coaching or advice.  And that’s especially so when when the coaching or advice  points out that we are not handling things the way someone else thinks we should.  It just makes us feel worse.  Less adequate.  Less able to cope.

When you’re in a difficult season, you’re just trying to cope, to put one foot in front of the other, to get through it.

What you need and want is someone to be a quiet affirming presence in your life.  Someone to listen.  Someone who is interested in what it’s like to be in your shoes today.  Someone who intuitively knows what you need and provides it.

What you don’t need is someone who wants to fix you.  Someone who is uncomfortable with your pain and justs wants you to “be normal again.”  Someone who’s quick with the “You shoulds.”

So please, don’t say “You should…”  Do say, “I love you.”  Do say, “I care.”  Do say, “I’m here to listen if you want to talk, otherwise I’ll just hang out with you.”

Thanks to JJ Lassberg (@jj4tlr) for using the quote in her blog post yesterday which prompted this post!

Hope is Precious During Difficult Seasons

Posted in Broken Relationships, Career Change, Caregiving, Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care, Grief and Grieving, Illness on October 30th, 2008 by Jim Hughes – 2 Comments
Light at the End of a Tunnel

Light at the End of a Tunnel

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. Anne Lamott

When a loss event occurs, whether it’s death, illness, a broken relationship, a lost job, or whatever, we naturally head into a darker place.

It’s just like entering a tunnel.  At first, we still have some light, because we’re just getting started.  But as we move further into the grief and chaos that accompanies loss, life becomes darker.  It’s harder to see where to go, what to do, because we don’t have enough light.

Hope that an end to the darkness will eventially come is a critical element to coping during difficult seasons.  For those experiencing the season, holding onto hope is a daily challenge.

With hope, a person can show up and try to do the right things.  Without hope, paralysis sets in.

To those of us who sojourn with those experiencing difficult seasons, whether as friends, or relatives, or caregivers or chaplains, helping them maintain this hope is one of the most helpful things we can do.  Having others who have experienced similar seasons listen and then offer an encouraging word of hope is healing.

If you’re in the midst of a difficult season, seek out those who can bolster your hope.  And once you’re out of that season, seek out those to whom you can provide hope.