A problem shared is a problem halved is an old saying designed to encourage people to speak up about their problems, but so few people do. Two of the biggest reasons behind this are because the following things are missing:
1. Validation – this is the most important thing you can do when someone tells you something they are struggling with. This step alone is one reason so many people will tell me things they have never told anyone before because they feel heard and acknowledged.
2. Ask permission before you go into fix-it mode – another vitally important things to do because it empowers the person who is struggling vs disempowers them by just trying to fix their problem for them. It is amazing how few people actually want help with fixing a problem but do want to share the problem with someone.
If you want to truly help those you care about then spend the time validating and asking for permission to help them rather than telling them what you think they should do. It will create far more resonance with them and mean they are much more likely to open up to you about the really important things.
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