How to manage your enthusiasm for helping clients improve their relationships
I am a divorce lawyer who believes in love.
As I watch my summer flowers get their first flakes of snow, I am reflecting on the changing seasons of love and relationships – friendships, marriages, parents, siblings, community – there are so many ways that we are “in relationship”.
When clients ask for help to “break up”, I used to worry that being relationship positive was a bit manipulative – Pollyanna – like it was my agenda to make things better! Have you ever felt that way?
So what do you think: How can we respect where our clients are “at”, and still create a space for them to discover a more positive way of being in relation?
The relationship is SO OVER, right?!
We are helping them BREAK UP –not MAKE UP!
Get on with it, right?
(Stop being such a Try Hard!?)
Hmmm. My studies in curiosity and insight helped me get past this inner critic.
I stopped trying to GET clients to want to improve their post-separation relationship, and instead did a lot more asking about their hopes and fears for the future.
I started to hear from the clients that they very much hoped to have a better relationship with their ex. They feared what their negative communication dynamic was doing to their kids. And because they were invited to discover their unique hopes and fears – not my positivity agenda – they were open to learning and working on it.
So this is another example of the magic of asking.
Discovery is an amazing thing. Being told doesn’t work. And since curiosity calms, I get to release the pressure valve of making things happen, and can be truly present to the unique hopes, fears and values of the client in front of me.