How to deal with other people’s pain

Unfortunately pain does not only hurt when it overcomes us, it also does when it overcomes over loved ones. Sometimes, we are even hurt by the pain of people we barely know or complete strangers. It’s good to feel empathy for others, but when other peoples pain turns into our own pain, we need to take some steps back. In this post I will describe how I deal with other peoples pain. This will not only help you keep your own sanity, but will probably have a positive effect on the person in question and your relationship.

Let go of control

First and foremost, you need to realize that you can’t control anyone’s feelings. You will probably know from your own experiences that it’s nice to have someone who listens to you and supports you, but eventually the responsibility for your feelings are in your own hands. Wanting to control other people’s feeling could lead to an illusion from both sides that this might work, which on the long term will never be the case.

Accepting that pain has it’s function, helps in the process of letting go of control. Pain helps people to deal with their emotional wounds, by showing them where those wounds are. Without the pain, we would never be aware of which parts of us still need attention and need to be healed. But the healing can only take place if we really pay attention to ourselves. Whatever we observe in ourselves we need to lovingly accept.

Trying to control others by wanting them to stop feeling pain, may come from your heart and out of love for this person, but it will only send a message to their subconsciousness that something is wrong with them. But in fact, there is never anything wrong with being emotional. Our emotions are perfectly normal and healthy. As mentioned, we can even use them to grow if we only handle them right. By wanting to take away someone’s pain, you could also take away a chance for them to learn and grow.

Everyone has their own way to deal with their feelings and everyone is also on a different stage of their personal growth. Accepting that it’s not our responsibility to try to control other people’s feelings will not only save us from trying to execute an impossible mission, it will also save your relationship to the person you so much care about.

But what could I do to help the other? 

Heal yourself first

Start with healing yourself by living a good example. I am convinced that being an example is the most effective way of teaching others. My mother used to force me to do yoga and meditate when I was a teenager. Obviously, this didn’t really work and I hated doing it with her. She soon realized and stopped forcing me. Roughly 10 years later, I still started practicing yoga and mediation. By this time I was already out of house and even living in another country. What made me start with these practices is the results I saw with my mother. In the past years she had completely transformed. I had always known her as a rather depressed, insecure and unenergetic person. Suddenly, she was full of energy and happy, always with a beautiful radiant smile on her face. All my friends pointed out how “special” she is and how much they feel at ease with her.

This dramatic shift in my mothers being helped me out of my own suffering. I started walking on the spiritual path when I was at a point in my life where I felt really bad. Knowing that my mum had released some of her own suffering, she was always the one to call whenever I needed help. Of course she gave me advice I definitely didn’t want to hear, but deep inside I knew this had to be the truth. How else could she have transformed this way? Bit by bit I started taking her advice and soon I started relieving my own pain.

No need for pity, but love

How do you feel when you get pitied? In the beginning it might feel like someone is there for you, understanding you. But don’t you start to feel after a while the other actually doesn’t believe in your strengths? This is how I feel and that’s why I focus more and more on other people’s strengths.

Just like controlling someone’s feeling, pitying is a way of resisting their pain and making them belief that something is wrong with them. But on top of that it also makes people believe that you don’t believe in their strengths. It makes them belief that you don’t think they will get on top of it. Especially for people who have little trust in themselves this can be a detrimental subconscious message.

Instead of pitying someone, you can simply show them empathy and love. So, instead of conforming how poor they are and feeling bad yourself because of their pain, you could simply lovingly be there for the person. Listen to their words and help them when they ask you to. But make sure that through this all, you never loose your faith in their capacities.

Once you can recognize the others innate wisdome and unknown strength, you will find yourself not only treating the other differently, you will also notice how their pain doesn’t hurt you anymore. You will know that they are going through a perfectly normal experience which will help them gain life experience and personal growth. You will watch them dealing with their emotions with love and pride, observing how they slowly transform their pain into joy and inner peace.

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