Healthy Thinking to Nourish Your Body: Empathy

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“Everybody is not your friend.”

Sometimes you can’t expect that everyone will understand your journey. They don’t have to walk on your path because they have their own to aim at.

Two years ago, I asked a few friends, “If you found out that you had a tumor growing inside your body, would you feel afraid?” It’s a question that I gave to random friends and I was hoping that they would somehow get the clue and ask me more questions. But, mostly they didn’t.

Well, if we keep the mindset, that people surrounded us will automatically show compassion after they hear the word “tumor” which is really scary; you’ll just end up disappointed. Not everyone has the same spirit as you. And not everyone – is your FRIEND. Was I disappointed? No, not really.

But…

Whenever someone said,
“I have cancer.”
You say,
“At least it was found out earlier!”

“We broke up.”
“At least you realized he/she is not for you.”

“I lost my job.”
“At least you’ve got rebates from your company.”

Never ever say “at least” especially – to a hurting person.

Let’s admit it, we are all guilty of using this phrase and thought we were helping. But, dear, we are not. That’s sad, I know. I feel guilty as well, but I try to remind myself before uttering any words to comfort others who are hurting.

By continuing saying this phrase, we are disconnecting ourselves from our friends, colleagues or even loved ones. Our purpose and why we exist in this world, is to never make the people you are surrounded with feel alone. Whether you’re near them or far away.

That’s why, I kept writing, to connect to you. Wherever you are in this humungous planet. I want to make you feel you’re not alone. We’ve got this!

For someone who is hurting, feeling alone or suffering from a deadly disease, instead of saying “at least”, maybe let’s try to do these slowly but surely:

1. Listen

You’ve just heard devastating news from a friend. You don’t know what to say. Save your friendship, don’t utter words first just because you think you are helping.

Listen because you respect them, you respect their feelings and allow them to validate that feeling instead blocking it.
By listening – it simply means holding space or withholding your judgment. Let them feel, they are not alone. You are now the anchor amongst the biggest and rough waves of the sea.

When they start to relax, give them a simple affirmation. Let them know that you appreciate them sharing their feelings with you and put yourself in their place.

2. Be caring

Put yourself in their place. It’s really difficult to become unselfish for the ease of others. Yeah, it ain’t easy. Whatever dilemma someone shares to you, whether it could be emotional, physical or financial. You may never help them in one of those aspects, just simply show up for them. Love them especially, when they need it, even when you think they don’t deserve it (if it’s worth doing), just do it anyway.

Show up for them. When the time comes, when you’re hurting, you’ll want someone to show up for you. It could not be the same person you cared to. But, there will be someone who’ll show the care you deserve to.

3. Be intuitive

Ah, this is, I guess the most difficult part. It’s difficult to sense the true feelings of someone, it’s as difficult as reading someone’s mind!

As you meditate regularly, become more aware of the present moment. Let’s start this by taking a deep breath, and then breathe out. While your friends are whining or sharing devastating news, don’t listen to their words; instead, listen to their use of words, the tone, body movements, their eyes, facial expressions. Try to decipher the silence. Look at them sincerely, listen and be still. In the midst of silence and the gap between uttered words, hear everything that they don’t say.

“Listen and silent – are these words familiar to you? They are both spelled with the same letters as what the saying goes.”

The silence has sounds. They are beautiful and sending a message. It will direct you to the present moment. And because of these two: listening and being silent, your friend at the end could learn something from and will be able to think of many options that are waiting to solve every dilemma in life.

It’s not too late to build relationships. But start first within yourself. Treat yourself how other people want to treat you. Be the kind of person you would like to be with. Some people come and go in our lives and some stay. In every journey you stride, make footprints and leave good memories. Everybody cannot be your friend, but leave them with fond memories.

 

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