The worst thing you can say

Not everywhere is it welcome to talk about emotions, and what do you do when everyday life does not work? Then you come across the call:

Think positively. Big man getting ski ball

It is probably the worst advice when collaborating or you are sad and exhausted. Nevertheless, what many executives tell their employees when they (again) complain and what well-meaning spouses and friends say when they are tired of listening to more dissatisfaction.
Well, it is true that positive thinking leads the way to solutions, and negative thinking can obscure how we look at things. But it is necessary to talk about what we are experiencing and what it does to us.

Emotions are messengers, whether it be the pain of a tired muscle that says Av! - rest now! or that is the discomfort when something is happening around us that makes violence on our values. As long as we don't take care of the feeling, it continues, often with intensified intensity.
The message must be decoded and understood in order for the discomfort to escape.

The power of the word

I am often surprised at how strong a force lies in naming what my clients experience. Recognition can move mountains. It is a key element, both when I work with companies, in conflict mediation and with clients 1 to 1.

Example: In a small craft business, the Swedes told that everyone had become closest to himself. There was a great loss of tools and materials, one no longer cared for each other, and the tasks were not solved on time. Consider just how critical it is!
On my first visit, a big man in overalls stood up in front of me and said, "Pernille, you just need to know that here on the spot, we're not talking about emotions." And then he kept his gaze as if to make sure it really caught up.

OMG, how can I do anything without speaking emotions? I thought. After interviewing every man, I planned a seminar day with them. They looked at me wondering when I asked when it had begun, the slope they had all talked about. Why would I know?
It soon emerged that it had begun shortly after a held sword had stopped. I asked everyone to stand in a row for seniority and put an empty chair there where the resigned should have stood. I asked what they thought he would like to remember. Professional skill, timeliness, fun. It was he who tied the others together; him who was an exponent of company values. There were also some problematic issues about his resignation, it was also mentioned.

Down for cigarettes

No wonder something had really left the company with him. There was a noticeable relief through space as we talked about everything they missed him for. It was as if he had gone down for cigarettes and they were still waiting for him to come again. Now we were talking about the void he left behind and said goodbye. It closed the door after him.

On the same occasion, I invited them all, one by one, to know what the others would remember them for. Creative solutions were mentioned, a companion, helpful, kindness himself, skilled, stable, kind. It gave them flushed cheeks and an unfamiliar feeling of being seen. We also did other things together, but this exercise remains as central.

I am not yet finished in this business and do not know the long-term effect, but I think that they will enter a strong community again without having made any other hocus-pocus than helping them name what they knew well and helped them to see each other's contributions.

There is science behind

Recognizing the unseen is not just a superficial feel-good exercise. Brain research shows that permanent physical changes occur in the brain towards more balance and robustness when precise words are put on the experience.

Among craftsmen, it is easier to talk about emotions if we use imagery. Metaphors become the gateway to emotions, such as the fact that he "went down for cigarettes". opened for them to miss him and the shock that he had disappeared at short notice.

Often we fear that we are drowning in painful emotions if we feel something intense. My experience says that is all we do to avoid feeling our feelings that hurt the most. Feeling our feelings fully is a relief, like coming home, as the final chord in a piece of music. The message has been delivered. We make sense.

Invitation to you

I would like to invite you to experiment with recognition. When you encounter dissatisfaction, boredom or anxiety, stop yourself before you go into encouragement mode. Instead of saying:

  • "You must see, it'll all go"

or give good advice, take a deep breath and see what happens if you say something about:

  • "Of course you are unhappy, you have so much care in this." Or
  • "Of course you are sorry you had hoped for something else." Or
  • "Not so strange that you're worried, you don't know the outcome."

Don't let the conversation end there, but leave room for the other to talk about what's really at stake. It is so much easier for us to move forward when someone receives and understands the message.

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