When we are face to face with another person’s pain, we often try to cheer them up or motivate them to move past it. But have you noticed that it never works? They will probably stop talking about it, but that isn’t because you ‘fixed them’, it’s because they feel unheard.

So what does work?

In this beautiful short animation, Megan Devine, from Refuge in Grief, tells us that the answer is to let them be in pain. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s important.

The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed, exactly as it is.

Parker Palmer

It’s not our job to make people feel better. It is our job to acknowledge their pain. Find more information and resources at the Refuge in Grief website.


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Linda Stade has worked in various teaching and management roles in education for twenty-five years. She has worked in government and private schools, country and city, single-sex and co-ed. Currently, she is the Research Officer at Santa Maria College, Western Australia.