The Power of Presence

Beautiful lantern on wooden table in autumn forest

My hand rested on her back, and my spirit sank beside her.  My friend staying at our house for the weekend was hurting and there was nothing I could do to take the pain away.  So there we sat, side by side, sharing a broken heart.  Though I tried to encourage, tried to find the right words to say, eventually I simply closed my mouth, and with tears in my eyes, nodded and sighed.

Nothing I could have said that day would have made my friend feel any better.  There were no magic words or platitudes.

For our hearts to heal at all they must be laid open first.  And one of the greatest gifts we can give to others is to be there when it does. 

When we hurt profoundly and deeply, the load is much more bearable when we share the weight.

There is a power in presence, in simply showing up.  

One of the greatest fears we all share is being alone.  Showing up demonstrates to the other person that they are loved and are not alone, a profound gift.

When it comes to our families, just like our friends, our presence matters.

You never know when your kids or your spouse will need you.  It most likely will be on a day just like any other day.  But something will occur, and suddenly, we are called upon to play a most important role.

Here are 5 Tips to Help You Practice the Power of Presence:

  1. Notice those around you and be in tune with what they are communicating.  Pick your head up and pay attention what people are saying verbally and non-verbally.
  2. Don’t feel the need to fix, just be with.

  3. Be practical.  When people are hurting they have a hard time getting even the basics done.  Help them.
  4. Refrain from platitudes.  Statements that minimize someone’s feelings are not helpful. Let silence occupy a space if that is what is needed and don’t feel the need to fill it.
  5. Healthy touch helps.  Give lots of hugs, rub a back, hold a hand.
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