Recently I had an experience where a close friend of mine was going through a challenging patch in their life.
I tried to offer advice and suggestions, but was met with, “I know all that” and a disgruntled friend.
As a very intelligent and sensible individual, they did already know what I was saying to them. And I knew that they knew. So why was I saying it?
After giving it some thought, I realized that whilst it’s natural for me to want to comfort those close to me when they’re upset, this was only a small part of what was motivating my responses. My “helpful” advice and suggestions were mainly coming from my own fears about what may happen to them if the situation wasn’t resolved quickly.
Ah, a familiar pattern. One I thought I’d stopped doing.
Once recognised though, I put into practice what I knew would be of most use –
a) Acknowledging my fears and imaginings of what I thought what happen if the situation continues.
b) Acknowledging and accepting my feelings of sadness I felt that someone I cared about deeply, was going through a distressing and painful experience and I was powerless to change it.
Thus, I took some time doing something that nurtured and nourished me. This way, the next time we speak, we can talk about what’s happening in our lives, both happy and sad, without me trying to force them into certain action due to my own fears and concerns. I can then show I care by listening to their experience and be of support that way, whilst they find their own solutions.
That very same evening, I came across the following paragraph, in a handout from a course I’m attending and thought it very apt to add it here:
“For none of us ever really walks in another’s shoes or knows the innermost rooms of a person’s heart. None of us truly knows the lonely places of another’s journey or the causes of the lines around another’s eyes. Therefore, let us be gentle with one another. Let us listen more than we speak and accept more than we judge. Let our open, outstretched hands reach and touch that we may walk along together for a little while in friendship and in trust.”
– Elizabeth Tarbox
(c) Prosperity X