See Your Loved One’s Strengths
- How to help family members see your loved one’s strengths
The holidays are approaching, and for many families, this will be the first time in over two years they’ve been together!
A lot has happened over the last two years, and inevitably you’ll get asked about your loved one. Now you and I know the pandemic was a tough time for your loved one, and your family has faced many challenges.
If you enter a conversation with a family member or friend on autopilot, you will jump right into sharing the challenges. When you do this, you highlight your loved one’s disability and devalue them. This feeds into the disability narrative that others have of your loved one and makes having a relationship with your loved one even more difficult.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. This year you have an opportunity to reset the narrative of your loved one amongst family and friends to a positive one! How? You need to tell the story based on your loved one’s strengths instead of their disability.
Here’s an example:
Disability narrative: The last two years were hard for Sarah. She spent a lot of time alone on the computer, and it has been hard for her to get back out into the community.
Strengths-based narrative: The last two years were hard on Sarah, just like it was for everyone else. But during her time at home, Sarah learned how to make her lunches and started to make me lunch! It felt so good to have Sarah make me a meal! Maybe you could come over, and she could make you lunch?!
The strengths-based approach positions your loved one as valued to the listener and completely shifts their perspective.
I invite you to try this approach. Take a minute right now and think of one skill, strength or valued role that your loved one has, and then think of a story you can tell to exemplify it the next time you get asked how your loved one is doing.
You’ve got this! If you want more tips to help your loved one be seen as more valued and to grow their independence, you can download my free independence guide.
More From the Author
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- 3 Steps To Make Progress This Year
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This post originally appeared on our November/December 2022 Magazine