How do you feel when someone comes to you with pain…emotional or otherwise? What happens in your body? What do you want to do? What do you want to say?
Now picture when you are in pain…emotional or otherwise, what is that you want? What is it that you most want people to say or do?
Sitting with helplessness is the bedrock of my job. I cannot fix, immediately anyway, many issues that are presented to me. But I can sit with the helplessness. I can sit knowing that what this person is going through feels really awful for HER OR HIM. I can think back to times when things were that painful for me and simply connect on a human level.
For most of us, when we are in the midst of our greatest pain, we really don’t need answers. We don’t need to be told, “He is in a better place” or, “Just pray and it will be okay”. Even if we ultimately believe these things, it simply does not feel good to hear neat and tidy phrases or advice when we ourselves feel like a big, gigantic mess.
When we are a big, gigantic mess what we need is someone’s presence, we need a witness. It may be due to an animalistic trait, where we know we are vulnerable and simply knowing that others are aware and watching gives us the luxury to not buck up immediately. Instead we can feel what we need to feel in order to move on, resting in the safety that others are watching over us. Grief, sadness and pain just can’t be wrapped up neatly and shoved on a shelf.
There is not much to say when someone is in the midst of pain. Words don’t help much. Sometimes food helps, sometimes a text or a call helps. Sometimes a visit helps, sometimes talking about something totally off subject helps. Patience helps always. But mostly, sitting with your own discomfort in the face of someone else’s helplessness is what is needed. Sitting helpless with another’s helplessness is the biggest act of love.
Love helps always.
The action, or the drive to push out of the pain and move on, will come. Sometimes sooner than you think. Be open to it. Just remember that helplessness often PRECEDES action. It does not negate it.
When the call to action arises, whether you feel it or not, you must respond to it. You must nudge yourself up and go act. This is your love of yourself moving you. It also stops the fear of helplessness. The helplessness will pass. Stay aware and listen. The call will come and you will respond to it. You will rise.
Nicole C Weiss LCSW
- Phone: 619-318-5012
- Email: [email protected]