I have been thinking lots about friendship, grief and support of late. Reading lots about it too. I am struck by how seemingly scared people are to be there for another in their grief. It seems they almost fear they will catch themselves a case of “grief,” like the common cold. How utterly tragic. In my own experience when I show up for someone who is grieving, not only am I there for the other person but I am there for myself. I feel connected with the Divine, my Higher Power. It is a blessing on me. I learn so much.
Nowhere do I see this fear of grief more often these days than in job loss scenarios and divorce. Some people seem to think that if they reach out to another in one of those two scenarios, they will lose their job or their own relationship might suffer. This often manifests in words like “we don’t want to get involved” or “I know nothing about job searching so I could never help you with that.” Ugh. Double ugh.
Unemployment statistics come out this week. There will undoubtedly be someone you know in that mix. Unemployment knows no class boundaries today. Are you really going to sit by quietly and not reach out to that friend or family member in need? If each of us just reached out to one person, can you imagine the impact? Lesson 28 in my book, Lessons from a Headhunter…with Heart, reveals that the single most important thing a person can do in their job search is have one person just to lean on. But trust me, as discussed in my book, avoid your spouse people. It’s just too much pressure between the two of you, and your spouse appropriately has his or her own agenda. What you should do with your spouse is to set up “an upfront contract” or agreement to keep them informed at least weekly of your progress. That way they won’t have to ask and you will have additional accountability. This is a grown up solution to a grown up but all too present day condition of unemployment.
Having one person who will unconditionally support you in your search often makes the difference between success and failure in securing that next job. You can relieve so much stress, fear and anxiety by just reaching out and alleviating that person’s stress of needing to ask. As Nike would say, “Just Do it.” Now. You don’t have to do it perfectly. You just have to do it .
And on the relationship front, nothing could be more loving than to just say “I am here for you.” That doesn’t mean you are taking sides. And maybe sometimes taking a side is very important if someone is behaving with no integrity. (Do you really want people lacking in integrity in your life??) You get to decide that issue.
The point is this: You are just being there by giving love, not judgment. My friend Laurie S. did this for me a while back. She just said “Sometimes you just can’t take it.” Wow! Did I feel loved. It got me through a hard day. Then there was Rebecca who just said “I know, but it just stinks.” And then there is Dr. Kelly, my long time pal, who just ever so bluntly said “Man up. You are sticking to your values. Your truth.”
All such simple words of kindness but words which changed my day.
“Friends are our extended family. Their good is in extrinsically bound up with ours. Our concern for their good is our concern for ourselves. This doesn’t mean we are here to enable, but it does mean that we are here to care and to care actively.”
(You can find more about Marianne Williamson at: http://www.marianne.com/)
Too many times, we set boundaries that are boundaries against our willingness to love. What is the purpose of being a friend if we don’t take seriously the responsibility of supporting someone?
So here is the take away: As they would say in the book The Secret, or in law of attraction circles – lending your kindness, your time, your support, your ear, your advice unconditionally might not only change the life of a friend or family member, but you’ll be amazed at how helping someone else in time of need just might change your life as well.