28 Simple Practices for Inspired Influencers, Part 2

November 11, 2019
Laura Beck, The Eden Alternative

Our #GivingTuesday Countdown Challenge

Six practices down. Twenty-two to go.

Today, we will unpack Practices 7-13. As I said last week in the first part of this 4-blog series, we see #GivingTuesday (Dec. 3) as an opportunity to engage lots of different people in crucial conversations about care and support – not just those of us on the inside of the issue. Enter the Countdown Challenge! Each day, between now and December 3, we are sharing a new practice that puts the person first. Just like last week, your job is to apply what you read here and notice what comes up for you.

If you haven’t already, please like our Facebook page, as these practices will be posted there each week too. This makes it so easy for you to share them far and wide – don’t hold back!

And here we go…

Practice #7 (Monday, November 11): Become a good detective. Developing your keen observation skills is where it’s at when it comes to knowing someone well. Engage this skillset even when you think you know someone inside and out (yes, even with your own family members). The truth is, we never really stop learning about each other. If we’re not being good detectives, we might miss something that reveals vital information about someone’s well-being in any given moment.
Practice #8 (Tuesday, November 12): Put personhood first. Being well-known as a whole person with hopes, dreams, and a rich story protects us from feeling isolated or experiencing the plague of loneliness. Research now reveals that there is a strong correlation between loneliness and a bevy of serious health effects. Our sense of identity and belonging is strengthened, when it is reflected back to us by those people who are closest to us.

Practice #9 (Wednesday, November 13): Notice your perceptions of “caregiving”. How does thinking about “caregiving” make you feel? Jot down your gut reactions. Be honest with yourself. Consider asking yourself, and/or discuss with others, the following questions:

  • Caregiving is primarily a one-way street, with the caregiver “doing for” or “giving to” someone in need of support.
    • Strongly Agree / Agree / Strongly Disagree
  • People who receive care are often incapable of giving care.
    • Strongly Agree / Agree / Strongly Disagree
  • The experience of caregiving is usually negative.
    • Strongly Agree / Agree / Strongly Disagree

For now, just remain curious about your current attitudes and reactions to the topic. Ask yourself how your own experiences may influence your perceptions.

Practice #10 (Thursday, November 14): Avoid creating learned helplessness.
Years ago, while caring for my father, I was obsessed with doing everything for him. This is what I thought it meant to truly care for someone. What I learned was that, good intentions aside, I was encouraging a learned helplessness in my father. At the time, I did not fully appreciate the important role that agency and autonomy play in supporting someone’s health and well-being. When we begin to see the art of caring as more than “doing for” someone, we open the door for this individual to experience purpose and ongoing growth, no matter what their abilities may be.

Notice when you rush in to “do for”. Notice when you could have helped empower someone to do for themselves.

Practice #11 (Friday, November 15): Focus on what works, not on what doesn’t.
Are you offering care to someone on a regular basis? For one day, notice how many times you focus on what they can’t do or on what isn’t working for them right now. Count how often it happens. When our attention is focused on limitations alone, there is no room for creativity or possibility. Our abilities change day-to-day, no matter who we are. Each of us, regardless of what challenges we live with, can develop or lose abilities. As we gain our “good detective” chops, we become more attuned to subtle shifts in someone’s abilities and how to best leverage these changes.

Practice #12 (Saturday, November 16): Identify strengths and build on them.
Noticing what works right now is how you identify current strengths. Building on these strengths, rather than on deficits, helps someone step into their current experience of their power and purpose. As strengths change, we work in collaboration with the individual we are supporting to adapt as needed.

In your caring relationship, what strengths are available right now? Discuss together how you might explore building on these strengths.

Practice #13 (Sunday, November 17): Make the leap from caregiving to care partnering.
No matter who we are, no matter what challenges we live with, we all have something to offer. By building on what we know about someone, we can help them take the lead in identifying what gifts of care they would like to offer us and to others. Remember, the gift of being able to give care is a gift unto itself.

Each and every one of us is a care partner. Care partnership acknowledges that healthy caring relationships are reciprocal in nature (a two-way street). When we start seeing that opportunities to give as well as receive are alive in every moment, we can create many ways for all involved to benefit and thrive. By balancing out the relationship and meeting in the middle, we have access to an array of positive, even surprising, interactions that can help us grow in ways we never thought possible.

What gifts of care do you receive from the person you support? Think out of the box. Remember, gifts of care can come in small, subtle packages, whether it’s the gift of a smile, laughter, a loving touch or the gift of patience, being present, etc. Make the longest list you can. Keep this list somewhere where you can revisit it often.

Click here to see Practices #1-6 from last week.

Click here to learn about our #GivingTuesday campaign.

You can text to donate now by sending edenalt to 44321.

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