By Harold Klemp
Q: Recently I’ve seen my friends going through tough experiences like a life phase of unfulfilled goals, the burden of too many duties, the injuries of a car accident, or the loss of a family member. I would love to learn more about compassion. How can I best support them?
A: The very worst thing one can say is “I know how you feel!”
You can’t know. No one else could ever possibly know, because that person is unique. There is no one else exactly like that in thought or feeling in the whole, wide world.
How then, to show your compassion in the very best way? Just by listening.
Really listen, without itching for the first chance to offer a solution—unless asked for one. You will learn a lot by listening, without any opinion about the other’s best course of action.
You may, of course, offer words of support. If the troubled Soul, for example, was aiming and striving for a certain promotion when his company was unexpectedly bought out by another company, that position may well have gone to someone else. If appropriate say, “You were doing all the right things. Who could have guessed?”
A grieving friend, on the other hand, may just wish to be alone. In that case, offer to run an errand or do a chore. Or bring a meal, maybe for two.
And remember to listen. That is compassion in expression. You will grow spiritually in doing so.
Excerpted from A Modern Prophet Answers Your Key Questions about Life, Book 2.
An Exercise in Listening
Would you like to try a spiritual experiment? Next time someone tells you about a problem or crisis, practice listening—try using fewer words and more compassion. What did you learn from this experience?