“Dealing well with people’s pain will promote a far deeper level of trust than a jocular journey with their joy.”
— BRIAN HARRIS
We don’t often enough have full licence to journey with our pain, especially in corporate settings. People feel under pressure to present acceptably within the groups they belong to. It usually takes some work to open up space for people to feel comfortable sharing their pain, let alone allowing others into it.
But if ours is the role to nurture relationship—to increase the value of our outcomes through rapport—then we have a great deal to gain from opening up space where people can be real with their pain in our presence and in community; if it’s safe enough.
Pain: the Ever Present Reality
Scratching the surface of life, within the portents of the lives of those around us, we quickly see lives in varying states of completeness, raggedness and dishevelment. In a group of ten people we could say with some accurate effect that one or two will be dealing with some significant issue. One or two may be truly battling. One or two others will be stressed; a burden boils beneath them.
As we meet with people we are best prepared to accept the person who arrives on the day. We generally have no warning as to ‘who’ we will meet.
Most people, in the midst of a bad day, or a season of grief, or in dealing with a significant frustration, might present as masked whole people. But if we are perceptive we may detect that not all is okay. Without being intrusive we can offer them space. We can offer them the opportunity to trust us; an opportunity we will not quickly want to betray.
It’s not as if we have to look for pain. If we are a safe person to be with the pain will find us. We will find ourselves as part of another person’s therapy. How wonderful, and what a privilege it is, to play some part in the healing of another person.
In any group of people there are always those who are battling pain. Much of the time it is liberating for those bearing great burdens to be allowed safe space with which to communicate in. What a blessing for them and a privilege for us that we might listen without judgment and refrain from giving of unsolicited advice. Sometimes expression is all that is needed. Let us be space openers, so that people can leave us relieved in some way of their burdens.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.