Listening with Presence, Awareness and Love

An Excerpt:

When a friend is in tremendous emotional or physical pain, sometimes we're afraid to go and be with him or her, or afraid of communicating honestly when we visit. We think we should know how to relieve our friend's pain, or have the right words to say. Yet what a person who's suffering needs most is our presence. The Greek word for one who comforts is paraclete, literally meaning 'one who comes along to walk alongside'. What we bring to our friend is our loving presence, with perspective. More than anything we do or say, what helps a person suffering is who we are.
-Christine Longaker
Was leafing through books in the library (while avoiding my favourite fiction authors). Thought that I ought to return to a staple of mind-broadening - though somewhat stale/boring/numbing - books.

Picked up this book on the importance of listening and was immediately hooked by its theories.

Often, we avoid people in pain for we do not know how to help them. We think that there must be some words that can be said or actions that can be done to immediately lessen the pain. The truth is that there are no such words or actions or magic pills that can vanish pain instantly.

The person suffering must work through the various phases of pain - denial, disbelief, resentment, bargaining, depression, acceptance and enlightenment (7 phases postulated by psychologists) - before he can come to terms with the pain. What friends can help is to simply encourage.

To simply encourage doesn't mean that the corollary - giving encouragement - is simple. Encouragement must come with a healing presence, timely perspectives and without self-motivated or biased judgement.

It's a two-way street; The injured party must also be willing to accept the aid. Too often, the hurt person snaps at helping hands.

When one feels the desperate need to be loved, one tend to behave in a very ugly and unlovable manner. One bristles and wallows in passiveness, turning minor misfortunes into epic tragedies. This repels the people around them - how would they approach someone curling in pain and pity? - thereby perpetuating the loneliness.

How sad is it that one tend to push away others when he needs them the most? And how sad is it that others get pushed away so easily?

There are no easy solutions to such questions. Psychologists have been grappling and will continue to grapple with such issues.

To learn to love and be loved, to learn to listen and be listened seem the most apt solution to resolving pain.