When You or Someone You Love is Suffering

Things are heating up lately!  Are you noticing how many people feel pressure from either outside circumstances or their inner thought world?

Now is a good time to take a breath, stand back for a moment and see how we may be able to serve humanity in a deep and meaningful way—starting with our closest relationships.

I recently was talking to a friend about how she and her girlfriend approach one another when one is feeling down or challenged.  The way that they put it is this: when one is “down the well, the other one reminds her that she is waiting up at the top.  With sandwiches.”

Don’t you love that great illustration of patience, compassion and humor.  Here we see two people fully acknowledging some of the yucky stuff.  Depression, frustration, or inner turmoil are not fun states to be in or around.  It can be very inviting to go down into the well and wallow along, or try and pull the other up.  This is not always helpful and can rob our beloved of a necessary spiritual lesson.  It could be that our beloved is being stretched into the human that they are meant to be. If we interfere, they may not learn that lesson.

Vj and I are both solution oriented.  This can be really annoying to the one who is “in the well.”  We have created a system that is permission-based.  We also do our best to let each other know our needs.

  1. We say something like, “I need a listening ear right now.” Which we know means, “Don’t fix me.”
  2. When the afflicted is finished, the listener offers, “How can I best support you?”
  3. If there is no know support and the listener feels that they may have a nugget of help, we ask permission to offer it. That sounds like, “I have something that may help, would you like to hear it?”
  4. The afflicted then has the personal responsibility of taking care of his/herself and saying “no” if they don’t want to hear it.

The urge to “fix” is strong.  I have succumbed to it more times that I’d like to admit.  The rewards for abstaining are immense and include deepened trust and intimacy.

Your Assignment:

This works in family, love, and friend relationships very well.  Try this language out now when there isn’t necessarily a well around.  See if the language works for each of you.  If it is close, finesse it to your individual needs.  And of course, please let us know how it goes.

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