One of the most important aspects of creating trust is showing you care. At this time we need to reach out and show our care to people who may be feeling frightened or isolated. We need to ‘touch’ each other with our concern and love even as we physically distance ourselves from others.
Check on neighbors, friends and relatives to see how they are doing. We can connect online socially or pick up the phone and call them. A kind and caring voice at this time will go a long way. My mother is an Alzheimer’s patient in a ward that is closed off to family and friends. What I can do is call and ask them to let her listen to me and tell her that I love her. At that moment, she will feel my love.
A young friend of mine reached out to me. She’s a mom of three and has parents who have had serious health issues in the past. She is frightened for their health, as well as managing her own issues with three young ones at home. As a single mom, her parents have always been her support network. Now she worries that seeing them may endanger their health.
“What,” she asked me, “can I do?” I know that she wasn’t asking me what steps to take but more, how she could manage her rising fear. One of the tenets of emotional intelligence I learned through 6 Seconds is that wisdom lies within. Help the person see that they have the wisdom and strength to get through this. I hope I helped her uncover her own wisdom and at the same time eased her worry.
Here are some of the things you can do for others:
- Listen deeply. You can’t solve the issues that most people face but you can listen.
- Ask if there is anything you can do to make their life a bit easier. If it is within your power, do it.
- Let them voice their fears. When I asked my friend what was most bothering her she said everything. I asked her to describe “everything”. When she got specific she started to feel more in control.
- See if you can restate what you heard. Don’t be condescending or tell them not to worry.
- Know the facts. Keep up to date on the information that is available through legitimate news sources. Don’t spread disinformation. Here are some great sources:
Here are some things not to do or say:
- Invoke God. Some may feel it comforting where others may just find it annoying. Be sensitive to others’ beliefs.
- Tell someone not to worry or to calm down. Things may be fine eventually but right now it doesn’t reassure anyone.
- Say “There are some people who are worse off than you.” Misery is relative and specific to each person’s situation. Don’t undermine their feelings.
- Tell someone not to think about it. It’s akin to saying, “Don’t think about the pink elephant!” It is all you will see.
If you need to talk to me, I’ll be here to listen. Stay safe and physically isolate.