Being able to see beyond an issue, beyond what the person is upset about, and get to the heart of the matter, which is frustration in some capacity. Sadness, fear, anxiety, anger. To respect a frustrated person is to not to judge, comment on or even try to fix a problem. It is merely an acceptance that the person is frustrated about something. It does not matter what the something is at this point in time. It doesn’t matter if it’s not an important thing in your eyes. It doesn’t matter at all what you feel. It’s about what they are feeling.
- To tell a three year old that they shouldn’t be angry about not being able to fit the entire box of Cheerios in their cereal bowl isn’t going to be helpful.
- That said, to tell them that it is going to fit in their bowl isn’t helpful either.
- Demonstrating that the cereal won’t fit into the bowl is going to be disastrous for everybody.
But another option might be to say, Wow. You are really mad about that. Wouldn’t it be great if all that cereal did fit in that bowl? You could eat Cheerios all day. You must be pretty hungry.
(crying starts and child generally at some point melts into your arms) They cry for a while and usually when the post-crying breathing (huhuhuhuhuhuhuuuuu) they then become amenable to alternate suggestions or distracting away from the offensive Cheerios.
How about I make you some crackers and cheese and then I’ll read you a story while you eat them?
And in grown up relationships, say a woman wants a raise, she asks her boss, and the boss refuses.
- To tell her it’s stupid to get mad about not getting a raise isn’t going to be helpful.
- That said, telling her she probably didn’t deserve probably won’t help either.
- Suggesting many and sundry ways of how she might cut back her expenses to meet the problem of needing more money is likely to make her pretty mad.
- Demonstrating how the Cheerios won’t fit in the bowl will be disastrous for everybody in this case, too.
One could, however, say something like, Man. You must be so ticked. You muster up your courage to approach your boss, and the boss refuses you. Very frustrating. I’m here for you, whatever you need. (grown up cries or pounds fists or tells you to shut up or does some other grown up-ish form of frustration showing). Can I make you some tea? We can talk some more if you need too.