When it comes to helping others, there is only so much that we can do. We are now talking about someone else’s life and that means someone else’s freedom. This is difficult to accept because we hate to see anyone we love suffer. It pains us. But as hard as we try, we can’t take away another person’s suffering. Ultimately the choice of whether or not to find their way out of their suffering is up to them. That being said, there are three powerful things that we can do:
- Love them.
The greatest thing you can do to help anybody is to love them. Love them like they have no flaws. This is where your greatest power lies. There is nothing more powerful than love. Every time we meet someone on our path who is suffering and in a great amount of pain, it is an opportunity for us to learn how to be our greatest selves and bring our highest standard of love to the forefront. Always see other people’s pain and suffering as an opportunity to evolve your own understanding of love. Another person’s suffering—whether it’s displayed through sadness, anger, or violence—is always an opportunity for us to practice our beautiful ability to bring light to the darkness. You can’t force another person to love themselves, but you can show them that you love them, and this is the most powerful way to help them love themselves.
- Listen to them.
Listening is an act of loving, when it’s done without judgment. Again, this is an opportunity for you to practice love through non-judgment. Remember that the person who is suffering is in that position of suffering because they are crippled with judgments of their own. If they were gentle and loving and forgiving of themselves, they wouldn’t be where they are. So the worst thing you can do is add more judgment where there is already too much of it. You can be a voice of non-judgment, a voice of love and acceptance. This is what they need to be reminded of in order to practice it themselves. Learn to really, really, really listen, even when nothing is being said. Learn to really, really, really accept them, even when you don’t understand what they’re going through. You can help others the most when you bring your greatest self to every moment you enter into. You can’t force anyone to accept themselves, but you can show them that you accept them, and this is the most powerful way to help them accept themselves.
- Speak your truth to them.
We always benefit from the truth—speaking it and hearing it. So it benefits us and those we love when we speak our truth. It may not appear to benefit us or them right away, but it will over time. There is nothing noble or loving about withholding your truth. It doesn’t help the person you’re trying to help and it doesn’t help you. To help someone you love to overcome their suffering and bring their highest self forth, you must be willing to go first, even if it’s not easy, and often it’s not. Speak the truth that you feel. Tell the person you love why you’re there. It’s difficult for me to see you in this position, doing x, y, and z… and that’s why I’m here. You cannot love them fully or listen to them wholeheartedly, if you don’t also speak your truth in the process. If you withhold of one, you withhold of all. Gather the courage to say what needs to be said in a gentle and loving way. Great love is often expressed as great concern. They can handle it and so can you.