It's not about the nail - the practice of empathy
We talk about the importance of family but how much do we really see and hear the people we care about most?
When someone tries to reach out and share a problem with us do we jump in to fix without being asked? Does the discomfort of a potential confrontation or badly timed conversation cause us to run for the hills? What would happen if we stopped what we were doing, sat with our discomfort or frustration and gave the person our full attention?
A wonderful example is the video clip ‘It’s not about the nail’ by Jason Headley. It clearly demonstrates that while the solution might be perfectly obvious to us, it's not about that. It's about showing up and listening to the people we love most. We all have the ability to solve, and learn from, our own problems. Sometimes we just need another to bear witness and be there for us while we work it out. When we can be a witness for someone, when we can truly listen without trying to fix, change or judge their experience, remarkable things happen.
Practice: Try to listen the next time someone reaches out to you. Even if you think the solution is plainly obvious try not to fix, judge or change their experience. Give them your full attention. You might use statements like ‘I’m listening. That must be really hard/frustrating/upsetting. How do you think you'll handle it? Let me know if I can help in any way’. Watch and see what happens.
Find out more about Jason Headley here