To Give Advice or To Pacify

In today’s post, To Give Advice or To Pacify?, I want to share the difference between the two when it comes to helping someone process pain or loss. 

One thing we can not perceive is how another human being suffers from trauma or a tragic event. Why? Because we each experience this trauma or a tragic event differently.

Let me explain… how we suffer depends upon our experiences of our past. Also, of our mental health and our capacity for processing. Our experiences as children play a significant role in how we respond to events of today.

What is it to give advice or to pacify?

To give advice is to guide or recommend with regard to upcoming actions.

Oxford Languages

To pacify, is like to give peace. I look at it like I am to soothe someone or comfort them when they are suffering.

You know how I have shared with you in my childhood, in the post, Inner Child Wounds: Lack of Affection, that my childhood was one of no affection or soothing comfort.

Now my father or mother would give advice on what to do or how I should behave or act. But, what I wanted most was to be pacified and comforted. I remember a time when I lost my best friend to drowning, I was fifteen at the time, she was fifteen and it was devastating for me.

Yet, I was to told to just accept it and move on, who does that? I learned I had to grieve in silence. How can you tell someone they don’t have the right to feel what they feel. They want their feelings and pain validated.

In the last eight years of my life, my daughter and I experienced seventeen (17) deaths, the loss of family and friends was also devastating. My daughter hibernated inside her closet for six months. Guess what, I embraced her every day and made her as comfortable as possible inside that closet. We both seek comfort from a therapist.

I recall people saying to me, or shall I say giving me advice on how I should feel, telling me what I should do. I know they where only trying to help.

But, it wasn’t the kind of help I needed.

Self-Help Resources & Books

So let’s bring my childhood to the present, I again wanted someone to pacify me, and likewise my daughter too. Just to hear us out, let us cry. Let us experience the full weight of that loss of those people that meant something to us. That left us.

To give advice or to pacify, my daughter and I would have chosen to be pacified, to be understood, with someone just wanting to listen to our experience, to listen to our feelings.

People ask me, what can I do for my family member who is suffering from cancer, or a broken relationship, or loss. I respond with this answer, just listen to them, ask them what can I do to help you process this more easily, can I get anything thing for you to help you get through this situation.

Too many times, people can’t understand, yet, they can be supportive without offering advice.

See, we don’t know their trauma, pain, loss, or heartbreak. Because we didn’t experience it. We cannot compare our trauma to their trauma,. Nor, can we tell them that there’s a timeframe for healing.

We all heal differently!

Conclusion: What we can do is just be there for them. So they can heal in the fashion that is right for them. So let’s listen intently and quiet our words. And hear the depth of their pain. Accept that our position is one that comes from a loving place of kindness and compassion.

a little about me…

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