Blows and difficulties leave no one indifferent. The realities of life necessarily put us in delicate situations: With mourning, it is necessary to know how to comfort someone who’s grieving. With illness, you have to know how to support. With unfortunate events, you have to know how to sympathize or sympathize.
Not so simple to support those we love when they are in pain and suffering. How to find the right words and the right attitude to accompany a separation, mourning, a dismissal, an illness…?
She’s crying or complaining. It is sick or it is floored … In any case, the observation is the same: because we love this person or simply because we show empathy, we stand there, at his side. We would like to lighten his pain, his affliction, his suffering. We would like to console, to remedy the sadness, to favor the outcome of the mourning … Sometimes, one would even like to “take his pain”. Yes, but is it enough to want to know? Not so sure. But, rather not always. Because in the face of grief: the reason is often impotent and voluntarism has little effect.
However, at a time when we are more and more likely to aspire to more solidarity, it is probably not futile to recall it: consolation is an art that can be learned. This article tries to answer to help us know how to go about it when it comes to comforting a distressed person.
We determine the verb “comforting” as relieving someone in their affliction with speech, care, or whatever. We designate a person “afflicted” as someone morally degraded, or deeply saddened.
To comfort someone who’s grieving, it is therefore above all to sympathize with this person, to share with him his sadness, his moral, emotional, and psychological suffering.
It is to be there for this person, and especially to be useful to him in his difficult moments. When we face a person afflicted, certainly there is a certain course of action to adopt – words to pronounce – reactions to hold. This is of course what we propose in the following lines.
1 – To know how to sympathize with someone, you must be able to position yourself deliberately in the emotional, moral, and emotional suffering of the person. That is, you must be able to put yourself in the person’s shoes.
The crown prince in England decided one day to sleep on the road, under the cold, to experience the suffering of homeless people. Whoever closes his ears to the cries of the poor, will also one day cry to the Lord, and Yahweh will shut his ears.
To console someone, you need to be sympathetic and empathetic, because that is what allows you to put yourself in the place of the person who suffers and imagine what it goes through psychologically, morally …
• “Listen to Appease”
The afflicted people always need to be listened to. Because they need to express themselves, to cry, to free themselves … That’s why They always seek an attentive ear. They seek an open heart that will communicate with what they feel. They always need to be in front of an available and understandable mind. This is why the position they expect of you is to listen to them in order to appease them.
Yet this is where many miss when it comes to comfort someone who’s grieving. It is a temptation to almost instinctively give in to the distress of someone you want to take care of: talk to rationalize. “Do not worry: one of lost, ten found! “In time, go, everything goes …” After all, is not this a way to be present while trying to contain its own difficulties? Dealing with grief is never easy. In reality, not to be deceived: to invite the other person to turn the page as quickly as possible, to minimize his loss rather than to consider it, is more prejudicial than life-saving, because “it can reinforce the guilt of the afflicted”. […]
So, what to say? Maybe not much, precisely. No doubt it is even the first question of listening …
Once the grieving person comes to express themselves or cry freely, the second thing they are waiting for is appeasement. We can soothe this person by taking it in our hands, or by tightening it strongly against our bodies, or holding it by the shoulders … But also by words, it is necessary to be careful because often instead of Being restorers and healers, poorly formulated and inappropriate words of consolation can aggravate the moral condition of the afflicted person whom we are supposed to comfort.
• Cry with the Person When You Wish to Comfort Someone Who’s Grieving. It Relieves Them.
You do not cry to show that his situation is very serious, but you cry to express your fragility before the Lord and to show that it is not only the person who is fragile. We are all fragile, what has happened, can happen to anyone else. I share your suffering. The Lord never closes his eyes on the true tears of someone.
2 – Encourage the person with soft words, instead of tearing him up with slanderous words as if to make him more guilty.
The person who suffers does not understand what is happening to him. It is not itself that expresses itself; there is a power beyond its capacity that speaks in it.
Colossians 4: 6 ” May your words be accompanied with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer each one.” There are people who have tongues like swords and arrows. When they speak, it is to pierce people. Yet when they suffer, they also want people to console them. The way a person speaks demonstrates the spirit that governs that person’s life.
An afflicted person may insult or speak shocking words to you, but you must act wisely and speak soft and calm words, addressing yourself directly to your heart. If an afflicted person speaks to you with hatred, speak to him with love, if he speaks with impatience, speak to him with patience. That’s how you can access his heart.
When you do not know what to say to someone who is suffering, you can say, “Sorry, are you all right? How are you doing? The Lord is with you. It’s okay, your downfall today is not the end of your life. God will lift you up. You’re not alone … “It would be better so instead of cursing him in his distress. And do not forget: stay close to the person who is suffering. Your presence or the fact that you are even really interested in the distance is already a comforting consolation.
• “Use the Metaphor to Change Your Angle”
What are the words to say when faced with a person who has been defeated by grief? According to Michaël Foessel, “the good comforter is first of all the one who is able to gently reorient the eyes of the afflicted”. His proposal to achieve this: resort to metaphor. Why? Because this figure of speech (which is to designate a term by another) allows inviting to glimpse things differently via speech. This is, therefore, the central element of the “grammar of consolation”. Thus, from ancient times, it states that knowing how to console is to suggest that, despite everything, life can be bearable…
But concretely, how can one go about becoming a poet?
“The idea is to try to produce images or to use the great myths that are nothing but comforting stories,” the philosopher suggests. Whether it’s the loss of a love or a loved one, an announcement of illness, or a professional experience that ends, we can evoke a book that closes, a journey that s ‘Complete, a scrapbook that no one will be able to steal …’ Another example: ‘To an elderly parent who cries over the idea of death, we can say that, finally,’ old age is like the evening of life ‘. This rather unexpected comparison makes it possible, in fact, not to deny the difficulty, but also to invite to look at the reality in a way less tormented. Is not this what we spontaneously do when we see a child fall so that he no longer thinks of his pain? “Say, what a waterfall, champion! And the tears dry up. But beware, for a metaphor to be operative, it must be measured. For, if it is a question of “reinjecting” the possible and “redescribing” the story (according to the expression of the philosopher Paul Ricoeur) to appease, there is no question of inventing a fiction.
To console is to admit the fragility of the other, but also to know how to put oneself in his place, that is to say, to be able to give legitimacy to his suffering. “Even if one sometimes tries to convince oneself that” acting as if nothing had happened “is the best service to render, do not be fooled: the pain is always better treated by a word or a word. a metaphorical gesture only through injunctions to mourning, “notes the professor of philosophy at the Polytechnic School. To support, would it be first to respect? Certainly. And the words of Albert Camus (in Carnets Gallimard, “Folio”) can help us there: ” The consolation of this world is that there is no continuous suffering,” he said. A pain disappears, a joy appears. ”
• Sing Praises to the Heart of the Afflicted Person.
For example, do not sing songs of mourning with someone who is bereaved, otherwise, it will reinforce the spirit of death and mourning around her. Sing to him new songs to the Lord.
If the LORD allowed you to be near this person at the moment of his affliction, it is because he knows that you can do something for her. This is because you can bring him mental, psychological healing.
3 – To comfort someone who’s grieving, you can bring him material, financial, spiritual help … to support the person.
As do good wishes during natural or economic disasters. That said, consolation can be materially or financially or spiritually. In a word, it is solidarity beyond the emotional.
Materially by donations to try to fill a little time what the person has lost … Financially by money … Spiritually by prayer, fasting, exhortations … All in all, it is appropriate to choose one of his methods depending on the circumstances.
Indeed, the friendship, the family, the collaborators are normally made to be with us in the good as in the bad times. Their presence or support goes straight to the heart of the afflicted person.
4 – Some Tips on How to Comfort Someone Who’s Grieving
– Do not judge the person, let alone demonstrate in such circumstances.
– Do not adopt a pessimistic or fatalistic attitude both in your words and in your actions.
– Avoid harsh or hurtful words.
– Avoid prejudices and do not blame the person
– Do not sympathize with hypocrisy either
Indeed, the only true consolation is of great use. It is necessary to use wisdom, gentleness, patience, sympathy, and compassion towards an afflicted person. Because it does not happen to others. The Bible says, ” Whatever you want men to do for you, do the same for them …” (Matthew 7:12). Which of you in a situation of despair or anguish has never needed to be comforted by those close to you?
And you, tell us how do you comfort a distressed person? Thank you for sharing your experiences or testimonials with us in a comment!