In Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant’s book, “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience & Finding Joy,” the second chapter is entitled Kicking the Elephant Out of the Room. The elephant being the loss, adversity, or whatever huge challenge faces you that everyone avoids talking about when they see you.
After the loss of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg realized she had actually avoided elephants in the room with friends, including a close friend who has multiple sclerosis. When she asked him, “how are you? I mean, really, how are you? How are you feeling?” He responded with heartfelt honesty and appreciation for the opportunity to share how he felt and what was really going on in his life.
This reminded me of my bedfast quadriplegic Papa, who always asked that question, “How are you, I mean, really? How are you, really?” And he really wanted to know. Many visitors & friends left unburdened and comforted because there was no room for elephants in time spent with my Papa.
Here’s to kicking elephants out of the rooms of hurting families, friends & colleagues by acknowledging loss, suffering, adversity and challenges with heartfelt inquiry:
How are you, REALLY???? (I care about you & I’m here for you.)
grace, peace & out-the-door elephants
Virginia : )
p.s. Highly recommend this book! Here’s additional advice from chapter 2:
“When life gives you lemons, I WON’T tell you a story about my cousin’s friend WHO DIED OF LEMONS.” Emily McDowell