Welcome to Widow(er) Wednesdays. A new way for me to share what worked, what didn’t work and what could work better. This week I begin tackling the subject of safe people.
Who are the safe people? (Part 1)
Whenever I speak to groups about healing from grief I always tell them that when they are grieving they have to make sure the people in their lives are supporting their healing. When we grieve we are vulnerable and people who do not support us well, for whatever reason, are unsafe people and whenever possible, they should be avoided. This is self-care.
But, how do we know if someone is safe? There are many tell tale signs. Let’s start with these three.
- Safe people show up more than once- sometimes in different capacities. For example, they may send regular texts, cards in the mail or give us a call. They may also simply pop by for a few minutes just to see how we’re doing. They do not invite themselves in and they do not stay for more than a few minutes unless they are invited to do so.
- Safe people provide practical support in many ways. They may send food (very common), offer to take our kids for a playdate or invite us to their homes for dinner. Sometimes they show up with tea and a scone. Other times they join us when we walk the dog. They make our days a bit easier with their thoughtfulness and kindness. They lighten our loads by pitching in and letting us know they are there.
- Safe people listen without interrupting. I’m going to get more into this in the next installment of Widow Wednesdays, but, for today I want to sign off with two simple exercises that will help you determine if a) you’re a safe person when it comes to listening and b) if the person in front of you is a safe person. Good luck!
Are you a safe person? (the exercises)
If you think you’re a safe person I’m challenging you this week to sit back and listen to someone without interrupting or verbally engaging: no words though nodding, smiling and gestures are encouraged. The person you are listening to must be completely finished speaking before you speak. I suggest making sure they are finished by creating a pause of 3 seconds before you begin talking. I suspect it will be more difficult than you thought but it will be worth doing. I know because it’s something I, myself, must continuously work on. Because I too wish to be a safe person.
Is the person ‘listening’ a safe person?
If you’re grieving and finding yourself drained after being with someone I encourage you to sit back and think about whether or not the time you’ve spent together is helping you to heal. That’s the whole exercise. Of course, if you decide these encounters are not helping you to heal then please try to avoid these people (at least for now). Once again, this is self-care.
Till next time,
Looking for previous “Widow Wednesdays? Start here with Widow Wednesday #1
To learn more about Heike (Author: “Grief is…”) click here
Buy Heike’s book “Grief is…” click here