Thursday, May 15, 2014

No answers needed

When a friend tells you about a hurt or deep pain, are you tempted to soothe her and gloss it over so she'll feel better?


We best honor the stories of others, their pain and sadness, when we simply listen. It's not helpful to hand out cliches, easy answers or comments about how this will make that person stronger. It really isn't helpful to say her hurt was "meant to be" or "all part of a plan." Let her feel the hurt. Let her grieve. Cry. Whatever she needs. And also let her know you care. You love her. You're there in whatever ways she needs.

As Anne Lamott says in her book Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair: "We help some time pass for those suffering. We sit with them in their hopeless pain and feel terrible with them, without trying to fix them with platitudes; doing this with them is just about the most gracious gift we have to offer."

It's the power of presence. Just be with your friend or loved one. No answers or solutions needed.

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