I recently stumbled onto something that is getting a frequent reaction of, “I thought a lot about what you said.”
Although that statement has historically made me hold my breath a little in a “Oh no, what’d I say this time?” moment, I get a little hopeful when I hear it these days.
When I noticed it, there was so much to say and only a short time left in an appointment. I wanted to help, but there was no time for talking through possible choices, or the associated anxiety, confusion, or sadness they might be feeling. I had to just spit it out.
“We both know how you’ve normally responded in these situations. You’ve been stuck. It’s not the first time you’ve felt like this.” They agreed. “Whatever you normally do, what if this week, you don’t do that? Whatever it is, do something different. See what happens.“
The following week, things were better for them. When I asked what had happened, “I just kept thinking about what you said. I did something different. I spent a lot more time breathing, and calming down, and I just made sure I didn’t do what I normally do. I feel a lot better.“
It wasn’t inspirational or too scientific. Just simple. It’s not the answer for all of life’s challenges, but it’s not a bad place to start.