Are you Caring for or Carrying someone?
Ten of us young women in an outward-bound wilderness camp were struggling to climb the last boulders at the top of a mountain when one of our members, who had very low blood sugar, slipped to the ground and could no longer move. Seeing her danger, the rest of us quickly devised a stretcher made from our rubberized ponchos and some strong sticks. It took the strength of six of us to maneuver her back down the slope to where she could be picked up by a rescue vehicle. By the time we had descended the mountain, we were trembling with exhaustion.
While such heroic efforts are necessary for brief periods and with considerable teamwork, carrying someone else is no way to live long-term.
The soles of our feet, our knees, our muscles, and our bones are designed to carry only one person through life, sometimes with the help of crutches, wheelchairs, and other supports. (Though it's certainly enjoyable to hold hands with someone else and lean on one another as often as you both choose).
The same is true emotionally. For brief periods of crisis, a community may well choose to carry another person. But when the crisis is past, it's time to let go and allow that person to begin once again to carry themselves. It's best to ask them to express their own feelings and needs, rather than rushing in to provide too much. Regaining a sense of agency, choice, and power is an important part of the emotional healing process.
The best coaches trust in the underlying health of their clients. We care without carrying. We seek to offer you the choice at every possible opportunity. We're thrilled to hold your hand and walk alongside you. And we know that you are capable, that you're creative, and that your desires are possible.
Caring for another person without carrying them requires a firm sense of your own inner balance. To what extent can you let the other person down? How well can you invite the other person to make their own choices? When is it important to take a step back and believe in the other's abilities and competencies? What happens when you loosen your grip on your worries and fears?
With great love,