Humans are social creatures. Most of us enjoy connecting with and helping each other out. We do this in many ways – giving advice, giving help, giving money, and the most uncommon of all – giving somebody our full attention.
Parker J. Palmer, in his article for Onbeing.org, states that sometimes we do more harm than good when we try to push our own ideas of what we think would best for someone else. Often advice is not really needed.
To cite the beautiful words of Palmer, “What the human soul wants is not to be advised or fixed or saved. Rather, it simply wants to be witnessed – to be seen, heard, and companioned exactly as it is”.
Most of us are probably guilty of this. Advice usually comes from good intentions, but maybe there’s a simpler, and more valuable way that we can ‘be’ there and fully present for others when they need a compassionate ear.
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When my mother went into a nursing home not long before she died, my wife and I were told that, for a modest increase in the monthly fee, the staff would provide a few extra services to improve her quality of life. We gladly paid, grateful that we could afford it.