Now and then everybody is confronted with a friend who’s sharing a big problem. Often we don’t know what to say or do in order to be of any help. I promise you to become the 10 minute life coach in such a situation by showing how to listen with your heart. If you follow 5 proven questions, what I call the SENSE method, you can offer a huge relief.
1. Story: What happened?
If there’s something weighing on your mind, normally you need someone to listen with the heart, someone you can tell all the details swirling through your head. Ask: “What happened to you?”, and then listen for about 3 minutes without interrupting
2. Emotion: What did you feel?
Immediately you have to ask the person: “And what did you feel thereby?” When I asked somebody this question who just lost his wife, he broke out in tears. This is very important, because that way he could get in touch with his inner most feelings.
3. Negative: Let me know the most difficult thing.
Then, let the person identify the most negative aspect, the most difficult thing in his experience. With this intervention, you save the aggrieved party from getting overwhelmed by emotions. Instead, through hitting the bull’s eye, the chaotic thoughts group themselves around this center and become clearer. At first glance you might think, this question is too cruel. This is not the case, because quite often it has a magical effect.
Somebody who was love sick, for example, told me, the most difficult thing was to acknowledge, that the other person broke his promise. Giving it a name, she broke the spell of a hidden hurt.
4. Strength: What helped you to bear up?
Now, you bring in a positive tone: “What helped you to bear up with this?” This question turns the focus over to strength, to the resources available to the person, so he will be able to cope with the problem. The most important thing for you is to support the person concerned with your mere presence. Solutions will show up or somebody else can offer professional help.
5. Empathy: I show my compassion.
Finally, show your compassion with a few simple words like this: “This must be very difficult for you!” or “I’m sorry for what you have to go through.”
Benefit of the SENSE-method
Applying those simple steps, you make a crucial change by bringing back dignity in a difficult situation. And you don’t have to be a psychologist for this method to work. In the end, the SENSE-method protects from anxiety and depression, because through listening with the heart, the energy which got stuck in a traumatic experience can flow again. I’m thankful for the impulses of Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen. Here’s my summary:
- Story: What happened?
- Emotion: What did you feel?
- Negative: Let me know the most difficult thing.
- Strength: What helped you to bear up?
- Empathy: I show my compassion.
Feel free to share a story where you made a change with SENSE!