15 things to keep in mind before inviting someone for a cup of coffee
I had a crush on Sushant Singh Rajput at one point, as I was charmed with a)his subtle swag of intelligence b) his ‘I made it on my own’ pride which he displayed humbly.
After his unwarranted demise, the social/digital media has demonstrated both its power and negligence yet again. One positive thing happening around is that people are acknowledging importance of mental well being.
Many have put an open invitation, over a cup of coffee, to listen and comfort those who are dealing with mental health issues or struggling with day to day mental exhaustion. ( On this topic, we can delve into many tangents . I am discussing one of the many here. )
There is a deep desire within all of us to comfort the rest and just be there for someone in need. Deep within … humanity prevails in all of us. In order to do justice to such an important role, to help someone undergoing a mental agony, we must understand and raise ourselves first. We can then serve our intention of helping others efficiently and effectively.
In this regard, here are 15 things to ponder over before inviting someone over for a cup of coffee :
- Do we consider our own mind space as sorted ?
If we are not in a positive frame of mind, we might do more damage than good to another person. We might be more sensitive towards our own feelings. Majority has something bothering them now or then. If we can prevent botheration from affecting our actions, words and thoughts continuously, we are in a better space to help another person. Otherwise, if we are continuously worrying, then how can we make ourselves available for someone who is perhaps worrying even more.
- Are we doing something to keep our own minds healthy ?
Some of the ways are : Consciously making a choice to be positive and happy. Exercising physical and mental muscle. Involving oneself in charity, creativity or anything that we are passionate about.
- Can we empathize with another person without judging the other as weak or incapable of handling life when he/she approaches us ?
- Do we have ability to be totally mentally and emotionally available ?
In this role it means that we keep our issues, baggages and notions aside and give that space created for someone’s emotions. Seeing their pain as ours, identifying their situation as ours. Totally connecting with the person.
- Do we have desire and time to follow up with the person after the initial discussion if required. Having one discussion over coffee might or might not be sufficient.
- Do we have life experiences, energy, time and maturity to handle someone’s emotions that may be very different from ours.
- Are we good listeners ?
Even if we lack all the above, sometimes a person just wants to be heard. Our ability to listen closely to what the person in need feels and empathize with their feelings can make a lot of difference alone.
Along with complex and intense feelings, they may carry baggage of insecurity, fear, rejection, hopelessness. These may seem irrational and alien to you but not to the person in need so giving a patient listening is important. In the process, asking the right questions can also be helpful. It can help steer the conversation to the root cause.
- Many times we would want to say, “Its okay. Things will be fine.”
Hold this statement off. There are three flaws.
Firstly, this suggests that you want to give control of things to external factors. This is exactly what the person is unhappy about i.e. his situation. His mind is not able to see hope. You are asking to wait more and depend on something to fall in place !
Secondly, it sounds that you don’t understand the emotional havoc it is creating inside the person.
Thirdly, you are not showing faith in the person that he can rise above any circumstances.
- Work along with the person to come up with alternatives and strategies.
One important aspect is to spark their will power that shifts the mindset from “I feel stressed or I have no hope” to “I have got this!”.
This will not happen overnight. So coming up with strategies that ultimately leads to a change of mindset would be effective.
- Understand that the person has put a lot of trust and faith in confining to you. It takes a lot of courage to come out to seek help.
At times, one has to defy the conformity and over power his ego, and display his vulnerable side.
- Respect the trust the person has shown in you. Refrain to discuss this issue with anyone else. Maintain confidentiality to honor the trust. This is no gossip.
- Don’t take pride or see this as charity but see this as the only human thing to do. Be humble about the privilege you have to help someone.
- In the event the person vents out or has an emotional outburst, be like a strong dependable pillar that can take in things without making it personal.
- Recognizing the point beyond which we are not able to help out.
Refrain from giving incorrect guidance. Point them to the right person / resource who can help better. Instead focus on offering support by listening well, accepting of who they are, thanking them for reaching out to you. Use words and gestures that indicate your faith and trust in their ability to overcome the phase.
- Sometimes showing your own vulnerability to the person in need gives him strength that he is not alone. Other times, the person is looking out to speak to a sorted mind. Hence, gauge the situation well.
When we are facing mental challenges, at times we get in touch with our darker psyche. Most of us deal with this time to time without realizing it since it doesn’t completely overpower us. We remain ignorant and deem this as normal part of life. Some can recognize the mind play, and refuse to give in.
But in a few, the negative impressions build up enough such that the thoughts or the monkey chatter is totally consumed with these. Along the way, the willpower gets lost. One tries hard to see the other side of the psyche, the bright side with happier impressions and happy thoughts. But these positive thoughts don’t flow constantly. One tries very hard to breathe above the surface. But the whirlpool of those never ending dark thoughts keep pulling one down. The more we entertain these thoughts, the darker it keeps getting.
At that time, the hand that gives us strength….that shows faith in our will power.. that accepts us…that understand us…that helps to pull us out... is no less than a hand of divine power.
Helping someone is a responsibility as well as a privilege. Showing your willingness to be available for others is one big step that emerges from your large heartedness to serve others. However, the next step i.e. preparing yourself for it will make the effort more productive.
Practice begins at home ! With spouse, siblings, parents, child, grand parents, service providers, team mates. One can practice consideration with anyone around.
A healthy mind is a better mind to help another mind.