When my sister was only 41 she got news that she had advanced breast cancer.

For months she didn’t tell anyone except her husband and young children.

When she finally told me, she explained the reason she hadn’t told people.

She didn’t tell people because she was protecting her own thought.

The anticipation of the types of comments people would say to her were unbearable.

She didn’t want to be showered daily with comments like,

“Oh that’s so horrible…”
“Are you okay…how are you feeling today?”
“What are you going to do about money?”
“What about your kids??”
“This isn’t fair!”
“Oh my God, I’m so scared.”
“You poor thing, I don’t know how you can bear this…”

While comments like those come from care and concern, they focus on all the places she didn’t want to go.

What you focus on expands.

My sister wanted to expand what she desired, which was health, vitality, and strength. She didn’t want to expand what she didn’t want: reminders of sickness or death.

Even though at times she felt sick or looked sick (according to our human senses), she held fast to her wholeness.

In her mind she wouldn’t consider herself sick or terminal.

Sympathy isn’t helpful.

When someone we love is hurting, we want to express to them that we care and that we love them. We want them to feel supported and we want to take the pain away.

When we’re hurting ourselves, we may crave the same thing from our family and friends.

That love is often expressed as sympathy because It’s easy to mistake sympathy for compassion.

If someone appears to be struggling with a hardship, we may be tempted to think or make comments that affirm that the person is suffering or that the situation is tragic.

Sympathy= feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.

Words like poorawfulwrong, and bad may riddle a sympathetic comment. The “poor” person has suffered something “awful”, and the situation is so “bad”.

While our motives behind sympathy may be love or compassion, affirming and reciting over and over that bad things have happened to a person eventually bolsters a belief that the person is a victim. Seeing them as the victim of something bad over and over again has the eventual effect of keeping them down.

Instead, choose compassion.

So what do you do when you want to be supportive of a loved one who’s struggling with something painful?

First, express your love for them. Then silently, and, if appropriate, verbally, affirm what you know and want to be true.

Compassion= kindness, caring, and a willingness to help others

Affirm that you know that healing is always possible, that there is always a harmonious solution, that the divine power of the universe loves them, that the person is resilient, and that our external physical circumstances are only temporary.

See the person as perfect, whole and complete right now, never broken or lacking in any way. Refuse to place any negative labels on the person or situation.

You can train your mindset to help other people heal.

Know their healing has already begun, and that they have strength and endurance.

Keep in mind that healing may not look like you want it to look. (read more about that in the post below)

When the Cure Doesn’t Heal You

Know help will be available for everyone who needs it, when they need it, and that anything lost will be restored.

Know people are good, caring, kind and generous.

Affirm the resilient powers of humanity and nature.

Give thanks for the selfless efforts of people working to ease suffering and facilitate healing, and pray for their continued resources and strength.

Have compassion and love for all those affected.

Here are some things to say instead of pity or sympathy.

  1. “If you want to talk, I promise to just listen.”
  2. “You’re strong and beautiful.”
  3. “Do you want to go out to do something just for fun?:
  4. “I was at the store and I saw your favorite thing, so I bought it for you.”
  5. “No matter what, everything is going to be ok.”
  6. “I love you.”
  7. “How can I best support you?”

If you’ve faced a similar situation, let them know you understand. If you haven’t faced a similar situation, don’t try to pretend you can understand.

Respect the person’s timeline for sharing information with you, and respect the healthcare choices they make.

Focus on what you want to be true for people, and steer clear of ruminating on the concept of loss.

Find comfort in the knowledge that the Universe loves us, and that the love is present even when the material picture looks bleak.

Peace to you.

I want to send you my free guide, “5 Days to More Peace, More Prosperity, and More Happiness”. Click here to get the guide for free!

Visit me at www.christinebradstreet.com

Cross posted at Change Your Mind Change Your Life

All images open source from Pixabay.com