One day I was talking to a good friend of mine and we were discussing the pros and the cons of being there for another person. I don't know if you've ever experienced the weight of someone else's hurt and pain. It's a heavy weight and sometimes you feel as if you are drowning in their misery. Especially if you have a caring and feeling heart.
I'm not very good at knowing what to say to make someone feel better. In fact, more often than not, I just want to fix their problem and yet, I can't. I'm left feeling absolutely helpless as I hold their fragile body writhing in the pain of their experience. A hug, a word of comfort that seems so small and ineffective when comparing it to the enormity of their pain. I can't actually tell them that everything is going to be alright. I know better than anyone the lies of the popular comfort phrases. Perhaps it works for some, but it sure didn't work for me! In fact I, as the listening ear, am ever careful to not confuse sympathy with empathy. Often the words I search for escape my mind as their pain becomes mine and soon enough I'm crying! I want to ask them to stop because it hurts too much and then I realize that they have to carry this all the time and they just need to tell someone, tell me, to relieve the pain they feel. to be acknowledged, to be heard.
So I come away from that experience feeling absolutely heavy. I want to take action to fix it but I have no solution. So then, the question, How do you let go of their burden? Perhaps I've taken a small load off of their shoulders but now what to do with it? I don't have an answer. I'm just asking the questions wondering if indeed there is a solution. I'm one of the least empathic people out there as I never have the right words to say. I paint, draw and express and from that I can paint something that someone else might actually be able to relate with. Perhaps because an image can connect with the emotions in a way that words will never be able to. Well, that is what I wonder and ask myself anyway. I want to be an ear for anyone who needs one. A silent soul to partner in their pain. Yet at the same time, find a place where confidence is not broken, but the destruction of their pain will no longer be able to harm them, myself or anyone.