Supporting Others With Open Hands
(Created June 26, 2017)
Oftentimes, we are faced with many of life's challenges that make us anxious, overwhelmed, worried, and perhaps, feel a sense helplessness. One such situation that we often feel very uncomfortable openly discussing (and sometimes can be culturally taboo) is deciding just how involved we should get when a co-worker, close family member, or friend experiences a crisis, perpetual personal problems, or difficult situation. As a compassionate, caring, and often loyal-to-a-fault person, sometimes we feel it its impossible not to do "anything" to help.
When we are made aware of a problem, it is human nature to immediately react and begin thinking whether this problem is temporary or unfixable amongst many other thoughts. This may be the time to stop, breathe, be in the moment, and don't immediately go into problem-solving or 'fix it" mode. Its not about you! Perhaps, we should think of these times as moments we can help others help themselves by allowing them to look internally for strength and come up with their own posible solutions. We become so entrenched and enmeshed into helping others when maybe we should just take a moment. Perhaps we may not need to do much more than lend a suportive ear to our frazzled or stressed our friend/family member.
This hands off approach makes many of us uneasy. The process of "letting go" is a non-attached way of providing assistance.The practice of open hands involves being present in the moment and an "attentive listener" rather than an active problem-solver. When we listen mindfully, and with nonanalytical awareness, we achieve a neutral, clear-minded, present awareness that lets us hear sound without preconceptions and fear. We become aware that things in life are much larger that us and have a way of working themselves out. Having this acceptance enables us to be more present and compassionate with others.