Being at Peace with the Pain of Others: Compassionate Listening

listening woman photoRick Hanson notes that we humans are an empathic, compassionate, and loving species, so it is natural to feel sad, worried, or fiery about the troubles and pain of other people.

“…How do you find that sweet spot in which you are open, caring, and brave enough to let others land in your heart . . . while also staying balanced, centered, and at peace in your core?

…Let the pain of the other person wash through you, Rick advises. Don’t resist it. Opening your heart, finding compassion – the sincere wish that someone not suffer – will lift and fuel you to bear the other’s pain. We long to feel received by others; turn it around: your openness to another person, your willingness to be moved, is one of the greatest gifts you can offer.

…To sustain this openness, it helps to have a sense of your own body. Tune into breathing, and steady the sense of being here with the other person’s issues and distress over there.

…Have heart for yourself as well. It’s often hard to bear the pain of others, especially if you feel helpless to do anything about it. It’s OK if your response is not perfect. When you know your heart is sincere, you don’t have to prove yourself to others.

Topics: Compassionate listening, empathy, empathic attunement; Lovingkindness, Metta, being at peace with the pain of others.