Mags sits on a leather chair, holding a phone in her hand and looking out the window with a concerned expression, reflecting empathy and compassion for a struggling loved one.

Caring for You Cares for Me – Empathy Over Fear, a Compassionate Approach to Loved Ones in Pain

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Since this is the last week in February, let’s revisit the topic of love one more time. You’ll remember that we talked about Navigating Love and Forgiveness in the beginning of the month and the Power of Genuine listening right before Valentine’s Day. Today, I’d like to focus on one thing I can do if someone in my life isn’t taking care of themselves. My hope is that if there’s someone in your life who needs to hear this message, you will forward this post to them.

Empathy in Action: Addressing Loved Ones’ Challenges with Self-Love

I have people in my life who I love but who have trouble loving themselves enough to reach out for help, whether they need it for their physical, emotional, or mental health. While ruminating about my concern for someone recently, I realized just how much their choice to not care for themselves affects me. The thought of this person’s health declining was getting me in such a state that I ended up picking up the phone to let them know how much they mean to me. Among other things, I explained to my friend on their answering machine, 

“When you care for you, you care for me.” 

Controlling What We Can Control: Connection Through Compassion

We talk a lot here at Confessions about not being able to control other people or what they do. But we also talk a lot about the fact that we ourselves have infinite control over what we do and the choices we make. So no, I can’t make another adult go see a doctor, or get themselves out of the house, or seek counseling for something that’s weighing heavy on their heart—I can, however, let them know how much I care about their wellbeing. I can tell them how much they mean to me. I can share with them that when they take care of themselves they are also taking care of me. I can also go on to explain the impact that not having them in my life in the same capacity has on me.

Navigating Anxiety with Love: Embracing Vulnerability

Unfortunately, my anxiety over someone else’s welfare can sometimes come out as anger. Rather than showing love, I use scare tactics or force to attempt to coerce these fragile friends into action. A compassionate approach feels more in-line with what I crave when I’m in a compromised state. I don’t need people frightening or manipulating me; I need love. 

Years ago, G Man played a song for me that really helped me better understand my approach specifically to the people in my life who struggle with addiction. This line from Ray LaMontagne’s song “Hannah” is a helpful source of reflection whenever someone in my life is in pain…

I’ll lay down this bottle of wine,
If you’d just be kind to me.

My words might not have any impact on my loved one, but if I lead with compassion, at least I’ll know that my connection with them is full of love rather than fear. Thanks for listening, Team~

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  1. Megan D!

    What a wonderful message this is about a subject I definitely struggle with. While having a big family, big extended family, and large friend network is great, the downside is, rarely do you ever go more than 6 months without hearing some sort of crisis affecting someone you care about. I’ll remember this great advice next time I’m in one of those situations and am having difficulty trying to get my message of wanting to help across.

    BTW, I’m forever grateful for your constant uplifting support whenever our paths cross, as well as the periodic texts or forwarding of motivational info, saying “saw this, and thought of you.” It always makes my day!

    Take care,

    • MARTY! I’m in the Marty Fan Club, always happy to send things your way.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. You make such a great point about how all those people we’re surrounded by in our families, who are always on our minds and hearts… it’s tough feeling powerless to help them. But I know hearing from people when I’m going through something is so comforting, even if the other person is just checking in with a text.

      When Tucker passed away, I ran into people who never reached out and they’d say, “I’m sorry I didn’t reach out, I just didn’t know what to say.” In all honesty, for those people who I considered ‘in my circle,’ just hearing something was better than nothing…even if people didn’t know what to say.

      Again, it’s so great to hear from you, MM, and the offer ALWAYS stands for you to be a guest blogger! I know the TeamConfessioners would love to hear from you!

  2. this one made me well up. Such an important beutiful well delivered message and to the point direction

    • Kelly,
      It sounds like you’re not the only one.
      This stuff is tough — we love so deeply, but we’re also so powerless sometimes.
      It helps me to come up with ways to feel like I can take back some control without hurting anyone…
      Thank you for taking the time to share — ALWAYS great to hear from you 🥰

  3. I needed to hear this. Thank you!

    • Lisa,
      I was hoping that it might pass through someone’s inbox at the right time — thanks for letting me know 🙏
      And thank you for always being such an amazing support for me, I love you man! 🥹

  4. Thanks Meg for this weeks blog .. it helped a lot ..gave me a lot to think about regarding people in my life …love reading your blogs each week and look forward to them

    • Beate!
      That means so much — thank you for taking the time to respond, I really do appreciate it 🥹
      I’m so thrilled to hear that you’re enjoying the posts and even look forward to them 🤗 WOW!
      Thank you so much for your support 🙏

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