~ Unknown source, but quoted by dog lovers everywhere
We might take a little hint from our beloved pets here. When you seek to truly comfort someone, the reason is not the focus.
The other person may not be feeling as they do for the reasons you think they are. Do not assume.
The other person may not be feeling the same emotion you think they are feeling. Do not assume (repeated suggestion).
The other person may be feeling an emotion you recognize, but at a different level of intensity than you understand. Do not assume (beginning to get the idea?)
They might not want their issue confronted or their problem solved. Do not move into Fixer mode.
They might want to just talk about what is going on, not discuss it. No response needed, just hang out and hang in.
They may not want to talk about it, but just exist for a while. Do not push for disclosure or to “talk through the pain”.
Maybe they just want someone to sit and be with them … Meeting their need for support, rather than our need to “Do Something“.
A dog will happily do just that, and so can we.
I know some of this flies in the face of our traditional understanding of grief and problem-solving, where the emphasis is on action and expression, but some solid recent research supports the value of not doing anything, but just being there. I’ll talk more about that later this week.
Appreciating the value of just hanging out with another in the Heartland ….