Watching someone you care about suffer through a painful struggle, whether physical or emotional, is a distressing place to be. The phrase, â€śIf I could take your place I wouldâ€ť comes to mind and is a true expression of longing and love. Without the option of taking on suffering in someoneâ€™s place, we instead often create our own distress and are left feeling helpless on a whole other level. This brings to mind another phrase: â€śMisery loves company.â€ť
I was recently in this situation and while I offered to help where I could, it felt like I was lifting grains of sand off of the enormous pile of boulders that was weighing this person down. Sadness, fear, and isolation all took root in me as I watched my loved one’s pain.Â Eventually I recognized that since I could not directly influence his situation, I needed to act with intention for myself in order to offer the change for him.
Instead of allowing this miserable fire to spread out of control, I acted to contain it. Since breathing was a physical issue of concern for him, I set an intention to breathe for him or act as an example for how to reach a healthy and deep breathe. To act thisÂ out, I dedicated a yoga session to him. Throughout I thought his name, pictured him mimicking my breathe, and imagined the strength and cleansing energy that my body held was his as well. By holding my love and hope for healing throughout, I equally benefited since thisÂ was the most powerful I have felt throughout a self-guided session in a long time.Â By believing these intentions become reality in some form, I was relieved throughÂ my actions and offering; I alsoÂ was empoweredÂ by clearly defining that I had energy to offer, but I was notÂ attempting to own or absorb the ailments or situation (as we so often try to do).
What do you do when you feel powerless to help someone else? What are your proactive solutions in these kinds of situations? I found solutions throughÂ yogaÂ andÂ creative visualization. Someone else might feel better lighting a candle and offering a prayer to bring light to someoneâ€™s darkness, as in By Candlelight. Still, for others the best answers might come from Hospital Stay Handbook in the form of becoming a patient advocate. Whatever your best path, I find that empowerment comes from knowledge, intention, and some form of action. Without these steps, all expressions of â€śwould if I couldâ€ť begin to feel false and allow that helplessness to bury us under the boulders, too.