How to Be There for Others without Taking on Their Pain

Insightful and useful advice.

Melody Beattie once offered some extremely wise words and advice: “Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.” Indeed, when a human being suffers, far more human beings aside from themselves suffer as well. Oftentimes when a loved one is suffering all you can really do is simply be there for them, although we frequently have a tendency to feel quite negative regardless of the fact that it helps neither ourselves or the person who was originally suffering. When someone is dealing with panic disorder, agoraphobia, or depression, it’s important to remember that they are the ones suffering the most—but it’s also important to remember that their loved ones are suffering significantly as well.

Aside from being there for someone who is suffering you can also give them the time they need to suffer; just knowing that there is someone there to lean on will help immensely, but also knowing that this person will also provide you with the time and space to yourself that you require (whenever you require it) will help just about as much. Interestingly, yoga workshops can also help; in some yoga sessions, strangers take turns sharing their struggles, but they only listen to each other (without responding to what the other person shares). Just listening with your whole body, heart, and mind is therapeutic on its own, and to be able to have someone else do this for you is significantly therapeutic as well. It can be difficult to let go of control in these types of situations, but it’s the only way to allow someone to move on naturally and healthily—and to allow yourself to move on in similar ways too.

It can be tempting to try to take on someone else’s pain, and to attempt to suffer as they are suffering—even though you know full well that doing so will not truly help the person suffering at all (and certainly not yourself). Yet, keep in mind that only the person suffering can truly bring themselves back to peacefulness. Furthermore, you must take better care of yourself than you do of others in order to maintain the energy and focus which is necessary to help anyone else aside from yourself. So if a good friend, family member, or other loved one is suffering, always think about what the proper boundaries are ahead of time before jumping in or rushing over to help them cope and recover. Learn how to ground yourself, and learn how to maintain and recharge your energy levels; the person who is suffering will need you functioning as well as you can be just as much as you will.

By grounding yourself, you will be able to recognize what thoughts, feelings, and emotions are truly yours, and which ones are someone else’s that you are taking onto yourself or channeling in some way. Again, certain types of yoga can help immensely, but so can proper exercise, and so can extensive dancing. What’s more, connecting with nature is always a good idea; hiking is a superior way of recharging your own energy with that of nature, and just spending time alone outside helps with focus significantly.




*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.