Responding compassionately to someones suffering can be confusing. We often do not know what to do or to say.
When we care for someone, it is difficult to witness their sadness, anger, confusing or depression. We often look for ways to offer solutions, thinking this will help.
However, when someone is suffering, the most important thing is to simply acknowledge what they are going through. Letting them know they are not alone and understanding that it is not our job to fix or make it better for others.
There are a few tips from the following article, that I find helpful, and they are:
Don't force someone to move on too soon.
Don't give advice or discount the feelings.
Don't compare pain and give ideas on what worked for you.
Don't tell someone it's time to move on, or to get over it.
Don't trivialize or diminish another pain by comparing.
Here's a list of some compassionate responses in this article:
Ask how others feel, today.
Validating another pain.
Share their own reactions with their words.
Create a safe place for one's pain.
Offer "specific" support.
In the end, we all want our suffering to be witnessed, not fixed.
The best gift we can give those we love, is to be emotionally present for them when they are in emotional turmoil.