How To Comfort Someone Who Is Hurting

I’ve screwed this up more than once. It’s heart-wrenching to witness the pain of someone you care about while having no idea how to alleviate their suffering.

In a voice that sounds desperate, I’ve made the mistake of speaking aloud something that didn’t help -- or worse, hurt them even more. It’s a heart-wide open wilderness and if I’m too much in my head it goes all wrong.

I thought I would help with “there is a great lesson in this”. It’s crazy-town to think -- in the midst of a crushing heartache -- there is any possibility they will see the logic in that it didn’t happen TO them but FOR, even though I know it’s true. “Other people have it so much worse” or “at least he’s alive” are useless words because there is nothing comforting in the comparison. “Please don’t cry” serves me more than it does them. I’ve learned to see crying as something wonderfully healing.

Years ago, I changed tactic. I stop talking altogether because there is nothing I can say that will make their broken heart heal. In their heart, they know I can’t make it disappear, though they wish I could. Their soul knows the pain is on purpose, out of reach in times of crisis.

So I sit. I hold them. I hug them to my tear-stained shoulder.

The most in-service I can ever be is when I allow whatever they’re feeling to be enough. When I quietly sit with someone in pain, our heart energy expands and reaches one another. No words are necessary.

When I give the gift of exquisite listening without dismissing, correcting or interrupting, I’m allowing them to be fully expressed. When love crowds out the shame, blame, and guilt, the healing begins.

I still madly wish I could fix their hurt.

It isn’t on soul-purpose, and as I move into my eldership years, I find that’s all that matters.