“The best comfort I could offer was to just let her tell her story.” -— Mary Anne Radmacher
I’m often asked how best to console someone who is grieving, or whose pain defies any immediate resolution. In other words, “What should I say to make them feel better?”
The term, “compassionate presence,” refers to being there—really being there without prejudice or judgment, without needing to challenge opinions, win the argument, or get anything off your chest. Compassionate presence is about the other person’s need. So many times all we really want is for someone to listen, and to try to understand. There’s tremendous comfort in that.
Your greatest service to someone in their time of trouble, sorrow, or confusion, is your comfort. Your job is not to fix it. Taking the time to listen with patience and empathy, and without offering unsolicited advice, is perhaps the greatest, most appreciated, gift you can offer.