by Julianne Kulosa
One of our greatest challenges can show up when our loved ones are suffering. In our deep care, love and desire to be of service, feelings of helplessness, sorrow, frustration, blame or even anger can arise. You might notice you want to fix them, lecture them, match their energetic state because you think it will make it better for them somehow, save them or just wrap your hands around their neck and say, “Wake up! Can’t you see how you can feel better?”
It’s often easier when a loved one is suffering due to an “external” circumstance: a car accident, a death of a loved one, illness, a job loss, unexpected financial burdens or some sort of stress caused in their external environment. Personally, I know that suffering is not caused from any situation or experience. Crappy things happen that don’t feel good, yes. However, the suffering I am speaking of is not caused from situations, rather from our misinterpretations of the nature of reality and ourselves. You’ve surely heard many stories of people thriving, loving, laughing, connecting and feeling gratitude and peace in the most painful of situations, such as in concentration camps. Also, it is also in times of crisis that people shine out most, connecting with their community and families to love and support each other.
Some things to consider when a loved one is suffering:
1. Your Loved One is a Master of Their Life.
No one knows better then your loved one how to traverse their own unique path. You can support them in remembering their own mastery. You can empower them by gifting them with their own path. They’ll take your offer of support, help or advice, or they won’t. It matters not, because it’s not about you, it’s about them. Your loving attention, your compassion, your belief in their ability to come through their suffering, is the most powerful support you can give them. If you reflect on your own life, you might notice that it was your greatest challenges that propelled you to rise up, grow, expand and learn. Don’t you want the same for them? It’s not easy to watch them suffer, especially when you can see the way out of suffering for them, yet this is the path they’ve chosen, and only they can walk it.
2. Forgive Them, They Know Not What They Do.
Forgiveness is a powerful tool. This means you are willing to acknowledge that someone is absolutely doing the best they know how, given their state of consciousness at any given time. If you were in their mindset, you too, would behave and experience reality exactly as they are. This forgiveness is not about their actions, but about authentically feeling compassion for them, even if you completely disagree with their choices.
3. Give Your Full Attention.
Put away all distractions and just be present with your loved one. This means not only external distractions like your phone, but internal as well. With each passing year of our busy information age, focused attention is becoming more of a commodity. Listen more. Talk less. Your loved one may or may not want to feel better in the moment. Maybe they just want to vent and complain, and that outlet for their thoughts and feelings might be exactly what they need in the moment. Did they actually ask you for your advice or opinion? Notice your own thoughts while listening: are you analyzing, thinking how to fix their situation or judging them? Take a breath, drop into your heart, and simply give them your full loving attention. Often what someone needs when they’re in a great challenge or crisis is to be comforted and loved.
4. Take Care of Yourself.
Sometimes your own biggest stressor can be in response to a loved one in pain. While taking care of yourself isn’t “number one” in this list, it may well be your most important move when it comes to supporting your loved one. Take time to notice your own response to the suffering of others. This could be a loved one, or something occurring locally or globally. Be honest with your own reactions, thoughts and feelings. Bring compassion and forgiveness to yourself as the witness of others suffering. When you feel stressed, you can only contribute so much to your loved ones. Do whatever you need to shine brightly. Your calm, peaceful and loving energy will be felt by others without you needing to do or say anything. Your heart-centered care gives you a clearer ability to use intelligent concern rather than feel reactive or stressed.
5. Trust Yourself.
In trying to assist a loved one, it can be challenging to know what your best move is that will support them. Should you walk away, be positive and optimistic, agree with them, disagree with them, be gentle or a little rougher, help them, or have them do it on their own? There’s no right answer, for each person needs support in different ways at different times. Not trusting your own choices certainly won’t support them. Know that you are a loving, caring, powerful person and you, too, are doing the best that you can. That is more than enough!
Trusting yourself also means standing in your own truth. Your loved one doesn’t have to agree with you, and you can be radically authentic in your own truth while being loving and compassionate at the same time. You don’t need to compromise your beliefs in order to help others. If you know in you bones and heart that they can heal their bodies, find the perfect job or home, thrive and have their dreams come true, you can stay solid in your knowing despite their disagreement or proof that says otherwise. You don’t need to argue your point or necessarily even say it aloud, but you also don’t need to give it up. Holding your authentic vision is transformative and of great contribution.
6. Envision Their Success.
There are many ways to energetically support a loved one, such as prayer, sending blessings, or using visualization techniques. Remember that they have their own free will, and your support is not forced upon them, taken only if their souls truly want it.
In a relaxed and calm state, imagine that your loved one has come through the other side of their challenge. Use your senses, sight, sound, feeling, to envision in the present moment their success and happiness. Notice, in the present moment, how they are feeling, talking and acting from this accomplishment. Notice how you feel witnessing their triumph and things working out for them. In alignment with their free will and the highest good of all, let that now go out into the universe to manifest, maybe even better than you could imagine on your own.
If you’re the type of person (and most of us are!) who wants to fix other people’s problems, this is a great way to use that desire without disempowering your loved one or feeling upset if they don’t take your advice. We really are all connected, and your powerful ability to create can be used to shift the experience of others if this is truly what their own soul desires.
Know that your love is the greatest support you can give to your loved ones. Your unwavering love, the true greeting of Namaste, that love that sees the beauty and divine perfection of your beloved in all their moods, thoughts and reactions, contributes and transforms their suffering, whether you see evidence of that in the moment or not.
Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash
It's not just you, my beloved. The world is transforming and we're all in this together. You are a master and expert in your unique experiences and contribution to the world. Together we'll navigate through these challenging yet oh so juicy and magical times.