Sudden Change and Being Present: 3 Timely Tips

Sudden Change-A Friend In NeedSudden change is a reality of human life – and it’s a challenge on many different levels.

Sometimes the sudden change is something that happens to you, throwing everything up into the air and taking your breath away.  And sometimes it enters a friend’s or colleague’s life, turning everything topsy-turvy and wreaking havoc with plans and schedules.

Sudden Change Hits Home

I recently learned of a sudden loss suffered by a friend and colleague. My heart went out to her immediately; and one of the things that I realized was that her loss had awakened similar losses for me.  So, not only was I feeling badly for her, but my own remembered griefs were reawakened.

Sudden Change:  Sorting Things Out

I wanted to be supportive to her, and yet, I saw that I was having some fresh feelings about a particular loss of my own.  In order to be fully present to my friend, I needed to sort out my own feelings and give myself some needed support before turning my attention to her.  This is so important – because you can’t see clearly or offer what your friend needs when your own suddenly-awakened needs are asking for your attention.

Sudden Change:  3 Timely Tips

Here are 3 Timely Tips (and Action Steps) to help you sort out your feelings and get your feet on the ground so that you can be present when a friend or colleague who’s suffered a sudden change needs your support.

Sudden Change Tip #1: When a friend’s crisis strikes a raw nerve for you, begin by addressing your own feelings independently.

Action Step:  Avoid the temptation to ‘rush to the rescue’ when you identify strongly with a friend’s misfortune. When you allow yourself and your friend needed space to sort things out, you learn valuable lessons about yourself and your own feelings.  Take a breath and settle into yourself before acting.

Sudden Change Tip #2: Ask, don’t guess, what a friend in crisis might need.

Action Step:  Instead of assuming you know what a friend needs, ask!  Everyone’s experience is different, and what feels helpful to you may not be for your friend. Commit to a way you can help that aligns with your time constraints, comfort level, and values.  Don’t over-reach – follow through is important – especially when the rest of life feels off-kilter.

Sudden Change Tip #3: When big, sudden changes hit, expect to ride a roller coaster.

Action Step:  Energy naturally peaks and drops when you face a sudden change or want to support a friend in crisis. Safeguard your time and your health by giving yourself some leeway.  Expect things to take at least twice as long as usual, and plan accordingly. This relieves unnecessary stress and allows you to focus your energies where they are most needed.

Simply being present to a friend in crisis is probably the best gift you can give.  I hope that these tips are helpful to you.  (They are adapted from my Finding Time Weekly Tips – part of the Finding Time Success Kit that you see in the sidebar.)

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