Sometimes just being with somebody, rather than words, is all that is needed to help. Sometimes it is difficult to see someone we love struggling, in pain, or hurting. When this happens, we might feel like we need to be proactive and do something to ease their troubles. While others may want our help, it is important to keep in mind that we need to be sensitive to what they truly want in the moment, since it can be all too easy to get carried away and say or do more than is really needed. Allowing ourselves to let go and simply exist in the present with another person may actually provide a greater amount of comfort and support than we could ever imagine.
Perhaps we can think back to a time when we were upset and needed a kind word, hug, or listening ear from someone else. As we remember these times, we might think of the gestures of kindness that were the most healing. It may have been gentle words such as “I care about you,” or the soothing presence of someone holding us and not expecting anything that were the most consoling. When we are able to go back to these times it becomes easier for us to keep in mind that giving advice or saying more than is really necessary is not always reassuring. What is truly comforting for another is not having someone try to fix them or their problems, but to just be there for them. Should we begin to feel the urge arise to offer advice or repair a situation, we can take a few deep breaths, let the impulse pass, and bring our attention back to the present. Even though we may want to do more, we do not have to do anything other than this to be a good friend.
The more we are attuned to what our loved ones are feeling, the more capable we are of truly giving what is best for them in their hour of need. Keeping things simple helps us give the part of ourselves that is capable of the greatest amount of compassion—open ears and an understanding heart.