Yesterday I coached a young woman in an animated way that was made possible by what she didn't do with my words.
She didn't globalize, demonize or black-and-white-ize. She heard my observations in proportion to the situation.
She didn't take my personal examples of my own struggles in similar situations as an excuse to care-take, teach or analyze me. She let me stay in the role as coach and kept her focus on how my words could help her move forward.
She didn't play victim. She heard my observations about unhealthy boundaries as an imperative to speak up decisively with those who are taking advantage of her goodwill, instead of an invitation to self-flagellate.
She didn't put me on a pedestal and hang on every word as gospel. She used my observations as a tool to help her see the situation clearly for herself.
Another way to put it is: she stayed conscious. That meant we were able to go deeply into her challenges and the resources and options available to her. We got a lot done in a short time.
Earlier this week I posted about self-betrayal. People often betray themselves by getting on their own case about their flaws, quirks and foibles. Some of my readers did some of that after reading that post.
That's beating a dead horse. This young woman and I wouldn't have been having our conversation if she hadn't already outgrown the person she was who got her in her conundrum. Yes, it was helpful to see how cause-effect had created an untenable situation in her life. It's even more helpful to recognize and applaud the new eyes that are allowing us to see our folly and make new choices.
I salute her for honoring herself (and me) rather than betraying herself.