I wanted to talk about the art of comforting. Maybe you don’t consider it an “art” but I think there are many people out there who don’t quite know how to offer a little kindness to others who are hurting or feeling despair. And let me tell you people…its something we NEED to learn to do, because ultimately all we really have is each other.
I will give you an example of something I saw online the other day. On a certain social media site, a person queried how do they forgive someone who has no remorse and continues to behave in a hurtful uncaring way. It was obvious to me that the person asking was totally sincere and was in a lot of emotional distress. One of the people offering “comfort” typed in something to the effect that if God can forgive us for anything, then we should be able to forgive others. I believe that is a true statement, but totally inappropriate in the context of the question being asked. The person asking the question NEEDED a loving, concrete way to make themselves feel better. Offering some pie in the sky theory for forgiveness seemed pretty impersonal to me.
I did comment on the post. First, I don’t think that I am some sort of guru or whatever, but I do think I am a little more sensitive to people. My first statement was that I was sorry that they were in the position they were in. I also wrote that although I had no exact understanding of what they were feeling, what I did know, was that you cannot change someone else. The only thing that you have power to change, is how you feel about it. I think it is important for someone to know…that they aren’t alone. That others can recognize that there is a commonality in our experiences, and if someone else can learn to deal with a certain situation, then so can they.
People want understanding and hope. Reaching out to another can be just as simple as acknowledging that you understand where they are, and that you wish the best for them. When people are in the middle of their pain and despair, you can only reach them with love. Offering dogma won’t help then. Give them love.
Maybe you feel you aren’t good with words. It does’t take many to say…I am so sorry. Four words. That’s it. And if you are in the position to hug them, or physically touch them (in an appropriate way) that’s even better. THAT…is comfort…