This or That

After many years of offering coaching services, I have come to understand there can be a knee jerk reaction to the question “How can I help?’ The typical unconscious response is “I’m fine.”. Even when people are coming to me for a session, this is the initial response I receive.

It is analogous to walking into a store and the clerk asking, “Can I help you?” and we reply, “Just looking.”

But what if you ask your spouse or partner how you can help them right now,  in this present moment? You are reading the visual cues, which tell you that your lover is in pain, but his or her response is, “Just looking, aka I’m fine!”

We have the tendency to go into protective mode around feelings and emotions such as anger, sadness, hopelessness or or a sense of fatigue. We might interpret these as destructive emotions, which could trigger an avoidance coping mechanism.

Recently I attended a workshop with a Buddhist monk who explained that we really have three types of emotions: positive emotions, neutral emotions and destructive emotions.

We shy away from weakness, burying it down deep and putting it into the darkness. This creates our shadow side or destructive emotions. When we share our truth to others and ourselves, without judgment, healing and oneness can happen. But our fear holds us from this freedom — the fear of being perceived as vulnerable.

What I know now that I wish I knew then is that you can do something to support your male partner through the fertility journey by carefully using your words with him.

The male heart is open but covered with a protective armor that may sometimes feel impenetrable. But there is a kink in the armor that the male needs to give permission to be shown and the female needs to be receptive to bear witness to their “weakness” without judgment.

The power of the option! What I have found is that if you ask an opened ended question to a man, the answer might be a quick yes or no… but if you present something with options, it triggers the fix it part of the brain and the real need will be revealed.

Would this help you or would that help you? Would it help you right now if I made you a cup of tea or perhaps you would like to be left alone?

If you get lost with “this or that,” you need to fill in the blank. Simply open your heart to the other person and the answer will come.


(Originally Published June 14, 2012)

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