You Better Look Up or Others Better Look Out – When You Beg or “Barter” to Feel Better

When I’m sick, I want nothing more than to feel better.

Relief. I can spell it, I can say it, I can envision what it looks like…but I can’t feel it until my immune system does its wonderful work and I kick whatever “it” is that I caught.

I can, however, choose to look up at the bright side of feeling poorly rather than making those close to me “look out” because of my bad mood.

I don’t like getting sick. No one does…but recently I read this quote from a book on managing life’s challenges from a “let’s look at this pain-ridden situation from a different perspective” outlook.

Spurgeon writes

“I think that health is the greatest blessing that God ever sends us, except sickness, which is far better. I would give anything to be perfectly healthy; but if I had to go over my time again, I could not get on without those sick beds and those bitter pains, and those weary, sleepless nights. Oh, the blessedness that comes to us through smarting, if we are to be helpers of others.”

Made me stop and think (also made a lot of sense to me.) But I wondered if I would recall Spurgeon’s words the next time I was ill.

I did.

In truth, revisiting this perspective (and knowing it to be true), helped me feel better inside (not just my physical side, but my deep, deep inside.)

Looking up is a good principle to follow whenever we’re feeling sick (it’s just as important when we’re feeling down emotionally too.) Here’s how offering a friend the same kind of “look up” lift can help them too.

Every woman can remember when the temptation to give up (or in) to failure and lingering discouragement felt paralyzing. What every woman needs at this pivotal juncture isn’t a plan, a fix-it, or a pep talk. All she needs is a friend who understands. Someone to listen without judgment, without comment, without casting blame. There will be a time for offering suggestions, the next step, or an alternative route, later on.

As women, we need to be tuned in enough to one another’s deepest, most heartfelt needs to recognize there is a right time to lend advice and a right time to withhold it. Sometimes we barter best with the gift of presence alone.

· Barter – B: begin by listening. Sometimes words do get in the way. Emphasize the “b” in simply being there, present and accounted for, listening without mentally working out how to offer advice.

· Barter – A: assign no blame. Mercy rises above judgment. Give it completely, absolutely, and without hesitation. Even if your friend has blundered badly, realize every one of us is only a few steps (or choices) away from the same position.

· Barter – R: resist the urge to immediately problem-solve. Most issues of any significance do not arise overnight and neither do their solutions. Take care and be careful about swiftly offering remedies that may only add to the complexity of the problem.

· Barter – T: take all the time that is needed. There is no gift like the gift of being 100 percent present. No rush. No other agendas or pressing matters vying for your attention and time. Give this gift of focused attentiveness and let your friend know you’re “there” for the duration.

· Barter – E: encourage in a way that is seen, felt, and heard. Be aware that little of what you say will matter as much as how you say it. Let your genuine heartfelt care be visibly apparent through every part of your physical body. Engage your friend with the entirety of you.

· Barter – R: remember we’re all the same inside. Your situation may be different from mine; but inside, where it counts, we’re exactly alike. Respond to another’s distress, even when you don’t understand its cause, in the way you’d want to be treated after enduring your worst fear.


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