Manage episode 354336282 series 3299109
In 2013, Jen ran the Boston Marathon. She dedicated mile 26 to the teachers and students at Sandy Hook. At mile 25, chaos broke out. Bombs were detonating near the finish line.
Jen spent the next two hours wandering around Boston in search of her family, who came to cheer her on, witnessing shock and fear and grief in real time.
“Since that day in Boston, this work has been my life 24/7,” she said. “It never leaves me and it will never leave me. And it all boils down to people needing to feel valued, seen, heard, cared for. We can fix that. We can.” -- Jen Marr
Our guest today has an incredibly important story and message to share. If you enjoy this conversation, I cannot recommend enough the book she co-authored with Skye Quinn, Showing Up: A Comprehensive Guide to Comfort & Connection
We’re here to talk about a difficult subject – showing up for people in suffering.
The Oxygen Mask Theory—Reimagined
The first area I asked Jen about was a controversial post she made on LinkedIn, where she flipped the oxygen mast theory on its head.
We all know that putting our mask on before helping others is the right way to go, right?
Jen shares that it actually misses a KEY part of human flourishing.
"I believed in that theory, the oxygen mask theory, which basically if you're in emergency, put your mask on first so you can help a child...In the airplane scenario, you're supposed to put the mask on the child because the child isn't capable of doing it themselves, right? In real life, not everyone is a child and there is always someone who needs help.”
In other words, self care is not the end all be all. Sometimes, we need to look outward and help others, and in so doing, we help ourselves Community and “others care” is a critical part of self-care.
Navigating the Fine Line Between the Rising Trend of Mental Health by Gen Z and the Need for Supportive Solutions
It seems that therapists are becoming our new best friends. Which is never what therapy was intended to do.
At least that’s been my perception, so I asked Jen.
The trend towards mental health may have gone too far, with therapists replacing trusted friends for things that shouldn't be considered medical.
I’ve been concerned that Gen Z’rs are treating therapy like an ongoing subscription, rather than addressing a specific condition or problem.
Her team at Inspiring Comfort has conducted on-campus studies with results showing that students are more inclined to seek support from their peers rather than professional counselling.
“Students are not as eager to go for counselling on campus. They want peer support because I think there's this fear that if they talk about their mental health on campus, it could somehow impact their records... peer support falls far above having counselling on campus. The number one thing they want, by the way, is professors and staff that care...They want each other for support more than they want the counselling center, but most of all, they want their professors to care”
A Journey of Healing and Bridging the Gap
Much of Jen’s workplace impact is helping professionals navigate what’s called The Awkward Zone. This zone is the place we often land when we don’t know how to respond to or handle the news of someone’s pain.
Jen shared that people often exhibit different types of behavior when it comes to helping others who’s struggling.
We all do them at different times – respond in an unhelpful way to someone’s suffering - but the goal is to normalize the language to speak and dive into this awkward zone.
“We have to be having more conversations to normalize it, and we also need to fundamentally get out of our siloed worlds and start coming to the table to address: Where is change really happening?”
Let's take the first step towards better relationships
Jen Marr’s book, Showing Up has lots of tools to offer in bridging the gap between concerned people and hurt ones.
So how do we show up for each other in real life?
“I mean, you name it. There are hundreds and hundreds of ways we can show up for each other, and there is a way that we each do it personally. It's a lifestyle. We have to think of it being something we do every day... human relationships are one of the most critical aspects in life, so we should be intentional about how we do that every day. So it is, it's a mindset every day that you have to get into. You’re going to be looking for people now instead of just living your life in your own head.”
With hundreds of tips and tools, we're learning to recognize our own barriers and approach relationships with a whole-body mindset.
From using our eyes to spot suffering, to our ears to listen better, to our hands to write messages of care and our feet to physically show up, there's no shortage of ways to show love.
Relationships are critical in life, so let's be intentional and adopt a mindset of intentional action every day.
About Jen Marr
Jen Marr is the brains behind Inspiring Comfort and author of the hit books "Showing Up: A Comprehensive Guide to Comfort & Connection" and "Paws to Comfort." With over 30 years of experience in business, leadership development and the healthcare industry, Jen has made it her mission to tackle the current mental health crisis head-on.
After witnessing the tragic events of Sandy Hook and the Boston Marathon bombing, Jen knew she had to do something to support those struggling. This realization led to the creation of Inspiring Comfort, a program that bridges the gap between those in need and those who want to help but don't know how.
For the past 10 years, Jen has been dedicated to trauma research and developing programs that address this gap. With a passion for the science of human connection, Jen has worked with organizations and experts across the country to create cultures of care through the essential life skill of comfort. Her passion for human connection has made a real impact on the lives of countless people, and she continues to work with researchers and leaders across the country to create cultures of care through the power of comfort.
Her approach has been embraced by the White House, KPMG, HCA Healthcare, Georgetown University, and many more.
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