We are lonesome animals. We spend all of our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say—and to feel—‘Yes, that is the way it is, or at least that is the way I feel.’ You’re not as alone as you thought. John Steinbeck, author
Sunday was the first anniversary of the death of the lovely lady in this photo who died of Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Her story, her daughter’s story, and her mother’s story are in my soon-to-be-released book, Mom’s Gone, Now What? What a difficult two days for these precious ladies. A first Mother’s Day followed by the first anniversary of death. But I know them to be strong women, I heard their strength in their voices and I see it in their actions. They were brave enough to tell their stories even at the height of their despair.
One thing I know for sure is that telling stories to a trusted person helps us feel less lonesome, as Steinbeck says, as it helps us move forward after challenging life events. As a friend listens, nods, understands, and perhaps, relates to our story, we feel validated. We begin to understand how our experience was not only meaningful to us but also to another person.
Affirmation: I will be a listener.
Coaching questions: To whom can you tell your story? What difference will it make?
Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert
It’s important to let the people in your life know that you are listening to what they say and hearing what they mean.
Here are ten things people generally love to hear, or questions they like to be asked – IF they are genuine and from the heart.
—I was thinking about you
—What do you think?
—I’m curious about _______, tell me more.
—I’m proud of you!
—I miss you.
—I am praying for you.
—I really admire _________ about you.
—I saw this _________ and it reminded me of you.
—Last time we talked you said ________, how’s that going?
—Thanks for being a special friend to me.
Affirmation: I listen.
Coaching question: What will help you think less about what people are thinking about you and more about expressing what you think about others?
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash
Curiosity is pure. If you believe every person has a great story, you will find that you are right. Sometimes a simple question is all it takes to reveal it. The Medium
Have you ever found yourself in a room full of strangers and wondered how to navigate? Being genuinely curious is a great start. Opening a conversation with, “I’m curious, what brought you here or how do you know the hostess?” Whether the person is quiet, sad, mean, angry, joyful, or funny she has a story and, with the right questions and a ready listener, will engage in conversation.
My son-in-law, Sushil, isn’t a gregarious guy and yet, people love talking with him because he is genuinely curious about almost everything. He asks good questions, listens intently, then asks a follow-up question so you know he’s listening and interested in what you’re saying. He’s a listener first, a talker second. Although I’m genuinely interested in people and many topics, I’m a little too delighted to tell my stories. I aspire to be more like Sushil.
Affirmation: I’m curious and listen to others.
Coaching questions: What holds you back in a social setting? How are you at listening and being curious? How do you respond to the premise that everyone has an interesting story?
Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash