We want to bring peace to others. Unfortunately, our loved ones’ struggles often trigger our own troubling emotions, making it difficult to be of real help.
- Agreement. You join in with the person and blame someone else for the problem: “I can’t believe she did that to you!”
- Pep Talk. You encourage the person to recognize that she doesn’t really need to feel this way: “But you’re such a great person! Don’t let it get you down.”
- Minimizing. You try to downplay the problem—to avoid facing a painful reality: “At least it’s not worse!”
- Fixing. You offer a quick fix to a complicated problem: “You should just stop thinking about it!”
To become a friend whose presence invites rest and reflection, practice taking a You-Turn, and notice what happens inside of you when someone comes to you in need.
- Acknowledge the other person’s experience by asking, “Have you considered that this emotion exists for a reason and has good intentions? How might it be trying to help you?”
- Ask the person how she feels about the fact that she is angry or hurting. In doing so, you might help her gain some distance from the emotion. You also might help her identify an inner critic. Encouraging her to get to know her reactions and emotions will help her gain compassion toward herself.
- Remind him that the person who has hurt him probably is behaving from just one part of him or herself too. He doesn’t have to like that part, but the understanding will help him realize there’s more to this offending person than the part that hurt him.
- Offer to pray for the part of her that’s suffering. Instead of praying that her sadness or anger will go away, ask God to be with her in the experience of that emotion and to help her gain wisdom as a result of it.