beach in belfast northern ireland - How to Embrace Emotional Inclusivity in Caregiving Using Storytelling

How to Embrace Emotional Inclusivity in Caregiving Using Storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful way to connect with others, especially when working together to capture and share their unique experiences. Whether you're collaborating with a colleague, a friend, or a family member, the act of telling someone else's story can foster deeper understanding and empathy. It's not just about the narrative itself, but also about the shared journey of exploration and reflection. In this article, we delve into the importance of emotional inclusivity in storytelling and how you can make sure that every voice is heard and valued, regardless of gender or background.

High School Graduation and Major Life Transitions

We’ve just celebrated a significant milestone in our family: our oldest human has graduated high school and moved to Phoenix, Arizona, which is across the country from us. It's been an emotional rollercoaster over here, with her preparing to leave, the actual departure, and adjusting to the changes. 

This brings me to a reflective question: Do you have any big changes happening in your life or work, dear readers? Anything coming up that would evoke a strong emotional response? What about in the lives of the people you love or care for?

The Overlooked Emotions of Men and Masculine Presenting People in Caregiving

Throughout this transition, many people have asked me about my feelings, but fewer have inquired about my spouse's emotions. I've observed a tendency for society to overlook male presenting people's feelings, focusing instead on their accomplishments or work-related matters. This seems to be shifting in the new landscape we find ourselves in where people have been shown that tomorrow isn't promised.

Additionally, while I don't have definitive data or proof, my guess is that masculine-presenting people will be asked about their feelings or mental state less often than feminine-presenting people.

Moving Forward

Today, tomorrow, and every day after I challenge you to think about how you can include more emotionally inclusive questions and activities in your interactions with masculine-presenting people, whether in personal caregiving roles or professional settings.

Questions can (and should) go beyond “how are you doing” which can be impossible to answer for someone who isn't doing ok. Get specific about what you are asking and possibly start with yes/no questions. I'm not a mental health professional, so I'll stop here.

Resources to Foster Emotional Inclusivity

To support this initiative, I’ve compiled resources centered around Ireland and heritage, honoring my dad. He shared his love of music and home with me and my brother and I've passed that love to my humans. These resources document some of how he shared his heritage and what I have integrated into my own life.

Things to read, listen to, or watch

I hope you find inspiration to start storytelling conversations with the people in your life who have shared their heritage and passions with you over the years.

Storytelling as a Tool for Promoting Human Dignity

This time of year is perfect for reflecting on how we can facilitate human dignity in those we care for. Storytelling is a powerful method to promote this. I've compiled several ways to incorporate storytelling into caregiving, ensuring that dignity remains front and center. You can find that list here – Restoring Human Dignity in Senior Care.

Storytelling Activity to Reconnect and Talk About Feelings

In the spirit of discussing feelings, one of my favorite prompts is asking people about a time they truly felt loved. This question often brings smiles and opens the door to heartfelt stories, whether it's a small act of kindness or a profound relationship.

Here are some questions to spark these heart-warming conversations:

  1. When was a time you really felt loved?
  2. Who made you feel this way?
  3. What did they do that made you feel this way?
  4. Did this happen many times?
  5. When is a time you think you made someone else feel loved?

These prompts are designed to ignite meaningful discussions and positive recollections.

What’s Next for Embracing Emotional Inclusivity

Reflecting on life's significant milestones, such as high school graduation and letting go as children embark on new journeys, teaches us the importance of acknowledging and honoring emotions across all genders. By deliberately including the emotional experiences of men and non-binary individuals in our caregiving and professional roles, we can foster a more inclusive and empathetic environment.

As we navigate these changing times, storytelling remains an invaluable tool for promoting human dignity and emotional well-being. By integrating storytelling into our daily interactions, we ensure that everyone, regardless of gender, feels seen and valued. Through heartfelt conversations and shared memories, we can build a supportive community that celebrates the diverse emotional landscapes we all inhabit. Check out the 5-Minute Storytelling Scripts to spark more conversations.