by Shane Murphy
Some kids don’t know what “it’s good to talk” means. Some kids don’t know what it means to “reach out”, they don’t understand when you say “your problems can be helped with support”, they don’t know what it looks like to “reach out” to somebody.
I didn’t know what that meant when I was younger. Some of you do, some kids I know were well attached to their families. However, there are those who aren’t. You see this in every social class in society. There is someone who can’t fathom the concept that their painful ruminations might be soothed by venting. They only imagine that by talking about what is going on inside their head, they would somehow multiply the impact of the problem.
Do you know how to ask for help? A sign of emotional immaturity is how well you react to an emotional disappointment. For example, you are going through a particularly busy week in work. Your manager keeps piling on demands in a frantic and disorganised manner. To let them know you’ve had enough, you stop speaking to them. You avoid them in work. Maybe you even try to tell them you are busy, but they shrug you off, they don’t listen. You expect that they will pick up on these non-verbal signs of struggling, and offer you support. Your manager doesn’t pick up on these ques, and they continue to deal with you in a sharp, unhelpful way. Therefore you aren’t being supported, the relationship between you and your manager is strained, and now you have real reason to feel worried.
If we are interested in increased performance or more harmonious relationships then we have an obligation to tell other’s our emotional state. Take soldiers for example. During a battle, soldiers must share ammunition or the entire section is compromised. Not informing the section you lack ammo, would compromise the team and therefore, that would be a reprehensible, irresponsible act.
When you fall below 5/10 on your resilience scale, you are running low on ammunition. You usually think things will improve themselves, that someone will come to assist you, some one will know the right question to enable you to pour out your inner turmoil, and thus be contented. However, your friend Peter , his car broke, he had no money to fix it, he took a quick loan for that and his rent, now he can’t pay it back and debt has been accruing the past 2 months and he is panicking about it. Peter is more worried about where he is getting the money to pay back the bank than analysing your body language.
What to do? Step one, identify your emotions. Are you angry, afraid, joyful, trusting, disgusted, surprised or sad. When you know what emotion you feel, try to link this to a tangible event or trigger. Was your day relaxing or stressful? How much sleep did you get last week? What happened that made me feel this way? Once you understand that the event has made you feel a certain way, ask yourself, what is the consequence of how I am feeling? Am I withdrawing? Am I doing what I want to do? Am I in control?
When you have a handle on this, then you can speak to a trusted advisor;
Practice the words you will need to use to get support;
“I feel ….. and I think it is because ….. I don’t want a solution to this right now, I just need to understand why this is so suddenly important.”
Then tell them to repeat back their understanding of what you have said. This will ensure they understand how you feel. Ask them to suggest alternative reasons why you are feeling this way. When you understand how you feel and why, then you can decide if this is an urgent problem to fix, and your supporter can help to brain storm solutions you might not have thought of.