There is actually something pretty important happening in the video above... can you tell what it is?
This teacher is treating her students how they want to be treated. We are often told to follow the "Golden Rule" of treating people how you want to be treated. Sometimes, it's just as important to treat people how they want to be treated. Part of being a caregiver is figuring out clients' needs by relating to them—by seeing yourself in them and giving them what you would want if you were in their shoes. Caregivers should also consider how they differ from clients, and how their needs may differ as well.
There is a caregiver who values connections and support, just like most people, but doesn't like to discuss her problems at length. In fact, she prefers to just get things off her chest and then move on instead of dwelling on things that bother her. Her client, though, has a number of health issues and enjoys discussing them at length because his relatives are far away and he doesn't have many other people to talk to. If the caregiver treated the client how she likes to be treated, she may try to help him let go and move on quickly, as that’s how she does things. But she doesn’t treat him that way. Instead, she simply listens until he's done talking, because she understands that the client appreciates that. She understands that what works for her isn’t necessarily what works for everyone and that there is no right or wrong when it comes to the support we want from other people. This is a meaningful way to be there for someone—to try to ascertain what they value, and then provide it, without question or judgment.
The above is not meant to suggest that caregivers should give in to unhealthy client requests or allow clients to compromise their well being. It's suggesting only that the agency might improve satisfaction by meeting clients where they are instead of assuming that's where we are. It’s recognizing when a client wants space, even if you’d prefer to be surrounded by people in a similar situation. It’s realizing when a client wants assistance, even if you’d feel uncomfortable not being independent in that particular situation. It’s moving beyond empathy to understanding, and building stronger relationships in the process.
We are so similar, and yet so different. Sometimes connection is seeing ourselves in each other. Sometimes it’s stepping outside ourselves and honoring what we see.