The Power of Invitation

Author: Kathy Cherven | Date: December 9, 2015

Did you ever stop and think of the many different invitations you’ve received throughout your life? Did you ever think that there was “power” in any of those invitations? Well I personally never really gave any deep thought to invitations I’ve received but accepted what I could and enjoyed (or maybe not) myself.
I must say that I learn much from my clients because of the depth of their grief experiences and the wisdom gained through their time of adjustment to that loss. Recently, I invited a client to attend a specific support group I facilitate and didn’t really think any more about it other than hoping he would accept the invitation. When he returned the following week, he asked me if I realized the power of that invitation I extended to him. When I responded that I had not, he cried as he told me that coming from an abusive childhood, he had never been invited anywhere and when I extended my invitation, it threw him for a loop bec of the emotional reaction he experienced. I cared about him!! Wow!
So, I’ve been pondering the “Power of Invitation” and I’ve thought of a few things and I would also like input from others. When I think of being invited somewhere, I think of feeling valued for wanting me to attend a special event. Then think of the reactions upon arriving to the event. Not only do you feel special, the person who extended the invitation also feels that way.
I also think of connection to others, especially when it comes to grief. Going through the emotional roller coaster of loss can feel very overwhelming and isolating. There is a tendency in the beginning, to turn down invitations due to the low energy caused by grief and also a resistance to socialize when feeling so sad. The thought of trying to make small talk is anxiety producing to say the least and it is hard to listen to conversations about “everyday life” when your life feels anything but “everyday”.
So how does the power of invitation apply to anyone who has experienced a loss? Many times, friends feel helpless when they see their friend hurting and they want to “do” something to help. The person extending the invitation is showing they care for you and even though the pain of the grief comes along with you, there is connection through caring. The invitation benefits not only the person grieving, but the one who extended the invitation also. It’s a win win situation. It is important though, to accept these invitations from family and friends who are willing to listen with compassion and not offer unsolicited advice on how you” should” or “should not: be grieving.
Invitations provide opportunities for connection to others who are either going through a similar situation or for the chance to be distracted from the grief emotions for a little while and spending time with those who love you and want to help you.
Invitations work both ways. Think about all of the family and friends who have helped you through your darkest hours. There will come a time when you’re ready to give back to those who gave so much for you. I can always tell when a client is adjusting to their loss when they tell me they reached out to a friend in
need and how important it was to be able to give back.
So, the next time you receive or extend an invitation, try to think of the emotional impact it could have, whether you’re grieving or trying to reach out to someone who is going through a bad time. We never truly know how someone is feeling unless we’re willing to extend an invitation to listen and show how much you care.
What does “The Power of Invitation” mean for you?

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