So recently I was treating someone in chronic pain and I was spouting facts about what happened when you detox (detox reactions). I admit I was rambling, because I've said it often. But this person visibly tensed up. I could tell they were upset, but I couldn't tell why they were upset.
Finally they looked up and said that they needed me to be more positive for them, because it was so hard not to sink into a depression. It's so hard not to let the negative thoughts win.
I said I was sorry. I told them I struggled with health issues too, and you really just can't give up and let them rule you. You have to stay positive.
But it was a real learning experience. I try to give the facts so people know what to expect. But in this case, stating the facts wasn't as important as paying attention to the heart of the moment - what was really happening. This person needs me to be hopeful for him - that is, after all, something people need when they come to acupuncture in chronic pain.
I'll do better next time, but I was really thankful they told me why I'd upset them. It's the only way to become better at helping people.