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I’ll keep a watchful eye to see where the suffering is. The rest will follow.
Just by listening and not trying to fix whatever it is. Just being there for the person is a gift, without preaching, advising, or anything…just listen….
Honestly, I don’t know anyone who is suffering who I haven’t reached out to yet, but if I do encounter someone, I can always give them a message of hope or, if nothing else, the gift of love and presence.
For me, recently it has been occurring to me, first determine if you have any basis of trying to help them. How can I give anyone advice on say, doing this or that action, when I can’t even do it myself consistently? The wisest person I knew was someone who just offered care and compassion, you are hungry, here’s food, you are scared, here’s comfort … everything else they left up to the person to figure out and I think that is about as much positive impact as any person can make until they truly master whatever the circumstances are that the other is going through and often when it comes to the bigger stuff, most of us I think are pretty clueless.
Sometimes what you think helps, actually hinders. My suffering needed to be worked out internally. What helped me the most during my darkest hour was watching my mentor live her life, what a delight and treat of a human being she was.
She didn’t advise me or let me go on. What she did was live a good life, through all her many losses, trials and difficulties. She recently transitioned to another place, even her transition, was done with such dignity and grace. Her example carries me to this day.
I try to send messages to someone I know who’s suffering deeply. He doesn’t seem to answer the phone or even read my messages all the time . I have tried during this whole pandemic to keep him from being depressed. I know it’s not my responsibility, but I pray he makes it out of this alive and well.
Depending on the circumstance, give. Give my presence, my time, food, whatever the situation asks for.
Besides the suffering they are living with, I bring up other stuff – the subjects we normally talk about. And introduce levity whenever appropriate – laughter is the best thing!
I can direct them to a space that will start the journey to healing and learning.
I found that each person that I know who is suffering has different ways of receiving what they need. Some need just listening, others need help with food, cleaning, comfort gifts , driving to the doctors etc. I found it helps to stay in touch and feel out what someone might need. A hug, smile or even a paid for therapy session to get them started with a good therapist . A gift of a paid massage too is so helpful for stressed folks and is well received. It does take courage to step forward to help. Please do something, just take three deep breaths it works for me to feel courage to act.
I’m educator and therapist and I hope my job make a positive difference.
It does, surely!
Be a good listener.
I have applied to be a mentor to a newly arrived Afghani family. I helped another family from that country a few years ago and it was the most enriching experience of my life.
Bless you, bless you, bless you, LInda! It brings tears of joys to my eyes. 💐
Thank you, Holly. I am really looking forward to it. I am still friends with the first Afghani family. There were 4 children; all have gone to college, 3 have married, two have children and the parents are doing well overall.
The gift of time and consideration are most precious of all; notice the someone within the suffering and the strength of their endurance.
Offering words of encouragement, either thru text, phone calls or sending a card. Prayer…sending prayers up, on their behalf. And listening….🙏
Have a good long conversation on a regular basis. Check in on them regularly. Perhaps run some errands.
Someone who is suffering needs nothing except my time and maybe my smile. Sometimes though a smile is too much and all that the suffering g person needs is a hand to hold or the awareness that I am there for them.
In my situation specifically I can listen with empathy. By practicing this skill I listen to learn and I become more connected with my partner. I hear her pain and see it through her lense.
I learned sometimes saying nothing at all helps. Oftentimes, my friends would vent. I’d ask if they wanted feedback after they speak. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. But for the most part, they just need to be heard. They just want to know they’re not alone or they just needed to vent to clear their heads.
I understand that and do alot of work with young people in a sort of mentoring role, greatest gift I can give them is the space snd freedom to talk with my interference or judgement.
Sometimes it is about putting up with grumpiness and responding with love instead of reacting. Listening to what they are saying, but also understanding they may not be expressing everything, so trying to be a safe harbor for them to express and connect.
Food is always a good introduction to the opportunity to smile, say something, be silent or just sit with – the 4 S’s.
In so many ways actually, so much one can do depending on the situation at hand, but what I found is reducing someones suffering a lot is to be fully present with all my heart and to listen deeply (even if not physically present, calling someone for example), so that they are heard, as suffering is often related to a feeling of loneliness or disappointment or a feeling of being deserted in one or other way. If appropriate and ok with the other, to help finding ways to reduce the suffering. Prayer and sending light with the intention for healing to someone who is suffering might be very helpful also.
To carry the burden with them. This can be as simple as acknowledging their suffering. Seeing it. Recognizing the sense of their having the endurance required to make it through. Not by making attempts to fix it, however certain I might be that I could. This does not mean inaction on my part. Simply a sense of maintaining enough room for their dignity to remain intact. Suffering has many sources, and sometimes multiple causes interlocked. The complexity itself is overwhelming for the sufferer at times. So offering a hand, someone to lean on, a bit of light in the dark to help get over some tricky patch of ground is my most common approach.
By being present 100% with the person and listening to what they have to say. And if they don’t have anything to say, just being there with them. Holding their hand, lending a shoulder, giving a hug. Praying for them and praying with them.
Walk beside them and be their friend.
Just by being there, listening, offering a hug , praying for them..
Listen without judgment. Show up.
I believe that a very important factor in making a difference in a person’s life is by returning as much power to them as possible. To meet them on their terms, help with their needs, not as I see they ought to be, but as they see them. Empty hands and an open heart is my policy. Take out of my hands everything I think I know, would like to achieve, win trust by working with what they place in my hands. Of course, this must be ethically balanced.
I deeply appreciate your guidance in this, Dusty Su, as I know you have much experience in comforting and serving those who are suffering. Thank you so much!
Walking at end of life, with those in pain with life, having been in great pain myself, are great teachers. Thanks for your kind words 🙏
You are a very wise woman, Dusty Su. I want to follow you around and learn from you.
Learned often by falling flat on my face. As it goes. As I say, as I lay in the dirt, looking up, I discovered some of the greatest miracles in my life.
Loneliness amplifies suffering. If you want to make a positive difference for someone who is suffering, let them know that no matter how dark it gets, you will always be there.
By being a caring friend 🤗💞💐.
Contact this person with a call, handwritten note, or better yet when possible, a personal visit.
If the person who appears to be suffering is unknown to me, at the very least I make an effort to acknowledge their existence with eye contact and a “Hello,” and as it seems appropriate in the moment, “Can I help you?” Other times, I may pick up some food and coffee for a person who’s hungry, or reach into my wallet and pull out a bill. And yes, it is never enough.
Prayer and/or lighting a candle.
I consistently find that whether I’m asked to or not, engaging in the act of listening to another’s physical, emotional or spiritual pain assists in their healing. We all need another to respectfully hear us and our story.
Amen to that, Carla.
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