Step 9 - Working Through Issues
When we go through challenging issues, a moment of care, a warm smile, and a listening ear can be very meaningful.
Don’t underestimate the power of everyday interactions.
One tangible way you can support your guest is to look out for them, the same way you would for your family member. When are they experiencing stress? As you get to know them, you will become more familiar with their ‘signals’ and when they might be going through a difficult time.
As you build understanding and trust, your guest may be more open to sharing their struggles with you. Listening is a simple act, but it requires us to be present. We don’t have offer any advice, coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen. By listening, we create relationship, and moments where healing can take place (Listening as Healing, Margaret Wheatley).
You could also offer to link your guest up to lines of support available – if your guest is open to this. Support can, but does not need to come through formal services (e.g. social workers). For example, if your guest is feeling isolated, you could offer to introduce him or her to your friends, neighbours, and community.
Look, Listen, and Link. These are some small but meaningful ways to support your guest.
In the initial period, it will take some time to get to know your guest. Understanding and trust is a two-way street. If you were getting to know someone for the first time, how would you like them to relate to you and start building trust? How would you like to do that for your guest?
When we go through tough issues, there are times we might want to work it out privately, and times where we go to others for support. How can you make yourself available, while being sensitive to what your guest needs?
As a host, you do not need to be a 24/7 line of support for your guest. There will be times where you feel emotionally unavailable. How can you make sure your own emotional needs are not neglected? What are small everyday practices that ‘feed’ you emotionally? Who can you connect with to support you?