When we see others in pain, whether it be psychological or physical, oftentimes, we have a powerful urge to relieve them of their suffering. At times, we want others to be relieved to such an extent that we become frustrated. We must differentiate between two types of frustration: failed attempt and opposing conflict.
Failed attempt is when we witness another’s pain to such a degree that we become frustrated that no matter how much effort we apply, they still do not heal. This is frustration that is often directed at ourselves in the form of a question: Why can’t I heal them? What am I supposed to do to heal them? If not our full attention, most of our attention is focused on healing them. The process becomes about us and our ability to heal.
Opposing conflict is frustration that emerges when we are trying to heal someone but we have another desire conflicting with the first. For example, we may want to heal the other person but we have work the following morning at 8 A.M. We may want to put in effort but we have school, assignments, and our own mental and physical health issues. Reasonably so, we become constricted from helping the other person and show our frustration. Opposing conflict frustration is a horrible burden to put onto the sufferer.
The issue with the second process is rooted in how we handle the frustration.
If for example, I have work the next day and my friend is suffering from depression, the conflict between waking up for work on time and healing my friend, can influence the type of advice I give. If I am frustrated from my own conflict then I may say,
“Just get over it. Forget about it. Why are you upset about this? Stop thinking about it. Don’t think about it.”
Ultimately, my inner conflict (stress, anxiety for something else) can ruin the type of advice I give.
And the sneakier forms of advice are the ones that sounds profound, and can possibly be effective, but are still rooted in frustration.
“Just meditate. Believe in yourself. Use your willpower.”
The profundity of the statement stands, but the sufferer can still feel the frustration.
The strongest way to heal is to
- Listen closely to the other person.
- Let the process take it’s time.
We should never rush the process of someone else’s pain because it causes an inconvenience for us. If the other person senses this, then it may not only slow the process of healing, but also make the sufferer feel abandoned.
If we show that they are inconveniencing us, then we are adding an extra guilt on the sufferer.
If we add an extra guilt on the sufferer, then they will be less likely to heal. When we give advice and help, it must be from a loving point of view. If there is frustration, then there must only be failed attempt frustration which shows the sufferer that you certainly care and the frustration is coming from one’s inability to heal the other.
Opposing conflict frustration can often be rooted in the idea that the sufferer is doing this to themselves. Many times, the mind is acting in a way that is uncontrollable to the sufferer at the moment. Friends and family, not aware of the intricacies of agency can accidently blame the sufferer by saying “Don’t think about it. Why are you thinking about it?” This unconsciousness also comes from opposing conflicts. We tend to act unconscious when we are conflicted. Therefore, if we want to help anyone and there is a conflict within us, before giving any advice, we should become aware of the conflict that is occuring within us. Think to ourselves…
“I want to help but I need sleep right now. I want to help but I am sad. I want to help but I am anxious.”
Once we become aware of our conflicted states, we will not be likely to give advice from the frustration. Remember, when we give advice from frustration, we may accidentally blame the other person. Imagine if in your darkest time, your greatest loss, friends and family are telling you to “get over it.”
I have learned that emotional well-being is the most important factor in a person’s life. Whether a person gets out of bed, finishes work, sleeps well, accomplishes tasks, all depend on their emotional state. When the emotional state is compromised, then the person can become totally and completely inactive and bedridden. Thus, let it be our duties to strengthen the emotional states of others. Abandon arguments and the desire to win. Prioritize emotional well being, because when emotions are imbalanced, winning what argument will make you feel happy?
-Hemal P. Trivedi