#118Sep 11, 2023
Welcome to Weekly Whisper #118.
On Thursday 14 September, it’s R U OK? Day in Australia. A single day dedicated to reminding us that every day is the right day to ask ‘Are you OK?’.
Compassion starts with a meaningful conversation whenever you spot the signs that someone in your circle may be struggling. Resources are available here www.ruok.org.au and if this whisper triggers you in any way you can seek help here www.ruok.org.au/findhelp.
Below are some tips and tools adapted from the R U OK? website that may help start the conversation.
1. ASK R U OK?
It’s such a simple yet profoundly important act of service – the willingness to ask someone R U OK?
Here are a few different ways to get started:
- You seem a bit less chatty than usual. How are you travelling?
- You seemed distracted this morning. What’s on your mind mate?
- I know you’ve had a lot on your plate recently. How are you going?
- It’s been tough for you lately. How are you really going?
- I’ve been a little concerned for you, you don’t have to say anything right now but when or if you’re ready, I’ll be right here.
Choose somewhere private and think about a suitable time to chat. You both need time and space to have a meaningful conversation.
Be relaxed and friendly in your approach. And crucially, be willing to be with them despite any uncomfortable silence as they consider an answer.
Be prepared for them to say ‘No, I’m not ok’. Also be prepared that they might not be ready to talk, or they might not want to talk to you, and that’s ok too.
Be willing to ask again if they're reluctant to respond – Are you sure UR OK? If they don’t want to talk, tell them you’re still concerned and let them know they can always talk to you when they’re ready. Or maybe ask if there’s someone else they’d rather talk to. There might be someone they want to talk with but don’t know how to start.
2. LISTEN WITH AN OPEN MIND
Don’t interrupt or rush the conversation. Acknowledge that things seem difficult for them. Don’t pass judgement on how they've handled their experiences. Don’t rush to formulate a response while they’re talking.
If they need time to think, be patient with the silence and don’t try to fill the void.
Encourage them to explain with open ended questions – How long have you felt this way? How are you feeling about that? How can I support you through this?
Show that you’ve listened by refrasing what you've heard.
3. ENCOURAGE A SMALL STEP
Once someone feels seen, heard and held it can be easier to encourage them to take a next step.
During the conversation you could offer emotional support by empathising with how they feel, or practical support by helping with tasks that may seem overwhelming to them.
You could offer to provide more information on mental health and self-help strategies or encourage them to seek the support of their family and/or friends. If someone has been feeling really down for a long period of time - say more than 2 weeks - encourage them to see a health professional. Their GP is a good place to start.
More resources are available here:
4. FOLLOW UP
Remember to check in. Pop a reminder in your diary and call them soon after the conversation. Don’t leave it too long to check in again. If they were really struggling follow up the next day. Stay in touch and be there for them.
Knowing someone cares can make a real difference. Keep open lines of communication and encourage professional help.
Freedom Fridays Podcast Episode 77 Featuring David Sollars
In this episode, Pete chats to David Sollars who is a return guest also featured in episode #46.
The essence of their first conversation was Dave sharing his reflections on being provoked by something on the outside that caused him to give away his power, authority and choice.
Dave & Pete pick up the conversation nearly 2 years later to explore the journey so far and what, if any, progress has been made.
They take a deeper dive into how Dave has reclaimed his power, authority and choice and the work required to do so.
Working from the inside out Dave shares his journey of self-reflection and compassion and how he held the tension between endings and beginnings. Courageously he also shares what it’s like navigating the messy middle of the ‘neutral zone’ which is anything but neutral.
If you’re in the midst of a personal or professional transformation you don’t want to miss this one.
That's all for this week. If you’ve been enjoying the Weekly Whispers please feel free to forward it to friends and anyone you think would benefit.
As always, email me at [email protected] to share your feedback or to let me know your thoughts.
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