How can we help when someone we love is in pain?
During the time in which my wife, Hope, suffered from severe clinical depression, I learned how the pain of a loved one can feel like a source of pain in itself, a personal kind of torture, both emotional and physical.
It might feel like there is nothing you can do say or do to make that pain any better; the more connection you feel with a person, the more intense that experience can be. We might not be able to heal someone else, but we can learn how to help and provide comfort.
So, how do you respond to someone’s pain when you can’t heal them?
When you think of how to help someone, firstly decide:
What is your motivation?
It is important to understand why you are helping someone.
Is it for you? Is it truly for them?
There have been times when I have thought about helping someone before realizing it was more for myself than for them. For example, if I wanted someone to like me, or think of me as a good person. Someone can usually sense when acts of service aren’t for them; use the platinum rule- treat someone how they would like to be treated.
The next step is learning to increase your awareness.
Placing awareness on your motivation can not only help you to understand if an action is for them (would you still help if you never received credit for your actions?) but also helps you to turn your ‘radar’ on; this will help you to recognize if someone needs help.
If you’re unsure where to start, put your best foot forward. Ask yourself, ‘where am I coming from where this person is concerned?’
Are you judging? Are you close? Why would you help?
Once you are clear on this, ask yourself how you can help.
Often, acts of service and simply being present for someone are the best ways to support and encourage someone in pain, with no judgment, and no expectations!
I knew a guy whose wife had died and they also had children. As the husband was thanking everyone who had helped along the way, he mentioned a person whose help had been the most unexpected and most needed of all. This person did two things.
- He asked if there was anything he could do.
- He sat in the corner of the room for several days and prayed for the family.
He did not bring gifts or spend money, he simply gave his time and prayer.
In a double-blind study, Larry Dossey, M.D., cited that when people were prayed for by others, there were tangible results to show faster healing and recovery, and profound impacts on physical and emotional well-being. Prayer plugs into the power of spirituality, where miracles can happen.
In Albert Einstein’s experiment on action at a distance, the study showed that two peoples thoughts are connected and affected at a distance, even from 100 miles away. Positive thoughts can always help people.
Connection is a great tool. In the current pandemic, more people are experiencing emotional pain and isolation in the US.
Whether you are praying, or inviting someone to engage in deeper, more vulnerable, conversation- deeper emotional understanding can grow more loving, trusting intimacy. This can help people who are in pain.
Prayer is just one way of ways we can begin to heal the mind, body, and spirit. There are various other ways to use our energy to help ourselves, and others, heal.
Acts of service
When my mother died, friends and family came by to bring us meals, take out the trash, put chairs out, and clean up. They were simply present, without any expectations, and this meant so much to us.
The act of simply being there can be one of the most truthful and meaningful things you can do during a very lonely time.
When you treat someone with honor, it can build a strong connection, which encourages trust.
Standing by someone in those hard and painful times, and experiencing it with them, can be the best gift of all. It might happen immediately or it might take some time, but it can lessen the weight on their shoulders.
Scott Peck once said that to change, you must be willing to go through chaos, and chaos means pain. When people reach chaos, they go back to what was comfortable and never reach the other side- love, success, happiness, health.
So, if you’re walking beside someone in pain, become aware. Look into your motivations for helping and make sure it is for them, not for you. Acts of service, or simply being there- a text, a call, a word to give support, can be the greatest gift of all. Remain without expectation or judgment, and you might find that this is the best help you can give; building an even stronger connection.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!
You can view Dr. Alex Lloyd’s video ‘When someone close to you is in pain’ HERE.