Opening Your Heart to Others Will Heal You

Opening your heartWhen we are ill it is natural to think only of ourselves and how we can cope. Sometimes we have the energy to think of our loved ones and how they are coping with out illness. But opening your heart to allow you to think of others and their suffering; you will not only think less of your own problems, but you will actually speed up your own recovery.

Don’t just thing generically e.g. the thousands of starving children around the world. Pick one person and think of them. If you are in hospital you will be surrounded by other patients. Some of them are truly suffering, emotionally and physically. See if you can think of something you can do to support them.

I have some printed greeting cards of my beloved Cavalier King Charles dogs and Ragdoll cat. I got my husband to bring me in some cards so that I could give them to my fellow patients. Naturally they asked about my animals and I was only too happy to tell them stories about them. Before long all patients in my ward were sharing stories about their beloved pets. Opening your heart by helping others is indeed rewarding.

Sometimes just listening to their stories is of help to them. There is something therapeutic in fellow patients being able to open up to each other. Perhaps it is because we are all suffering together in hospital and therefore understand what we are all going through that enables us to open our hearts. It is often easier than trying to speak to people we know and love.

In my book ‘Thank God I Had a Stroke’ I tell the story of a young man who was married with two children. One was intellectually challenged and his wife had just recovered from breast cancer. He had just discovered that he had a brain tumour that was inoperable and he desperately wanted to talk about it. So he talked to me; we both shed many tears but somehow it helped us both. I never even knew his name, but I was able to help him simply by listening.

Opening your heart helps both you and the people you make an effort to support.

Tips and Hints

Open your heart and feel for others and their suffering. Don’t be afraid to hold their hand, give them a hug, or simply listen to their story. Their story is more important than yours. Become a listener and show your kindness and empathy. Your thoughtful and sympathetic approach will not only help them with their healing process, it will also help you.

32 thoughts on “Opening Your Heart to Others Will Heal You

  1. Lisa Perkins

    Throughout my Father’s recovery at the Convalescent home, he unfortunately was there over the Christmas Holiday…. It was hard on all of us , but even more so for him not being home!!! The Nursing Home put him to work with small jobs of putting Christmas Functions together, and keeping his mind occupied through the holidays!!! He even joked around, about getting a job there once he recovered!!! He still goes back to visit everyone, whether they appreciate it or not!!!!

    1. Barbara Gabogrecan

      A great story Lisa – what a wonderful Dad. I intend going back to the home where my Mum recently passed away and taking my Cavalier King Charles dogs with me as the folk loved them when I took them in t see Mum.

  2. Jane

    It is a great skill to be a good listener. Let the person speak without interrupting. Always appear interested and sympathetic. You are not obligated to offer any advice. The mere fact of listening can help the person feel a lot better about their dire situation.

  3. Wendy Mitchell

    online support groups is really helpful in this area. Yahoo groups has some excellent ones.

  4. Debbie Boulier

    I believe listening to someone can be the best medicine around sometimes. Being kind, helpful and understanding is just as important too. It forms a bond and really helps with healing…both physically and mentally. Especially in times of great stress and illness.

  5. Jack J

    The bonds with fellow patients and even hospital personel really helped me through my recovery. It is easy to start to feel alone sometimes when in hospital for an extended time, and this article is just so true.

  6. Yusuf Ali

    The greatest thing that we can share is love and compassion for others. This is why many impoverished nations are statistically happier. Since they don’t focus much on the material stuff, they bond closer to each other as that’s really all they’ve got. Simple things that you mentioned, even just sharing them with your own family makes a difference to all!

  7. Ana B.

    This is so uplifting. If everyone were so concerned about others, not just themselves, we could all help each other to overcome serious illnesses we may be dealing with by providing the connection and support we all need and desire. I’ll definitely keep this in mind when I’m going through a tough time.

  8. Debra Owens

    Facing illness or death has to be a feeling that no one could probably ever really describe. Knowing your
    fate would have to truly make an impact on what days you have left! Cherish it as much as possible!

  9. rose

    You are so inspiring. This is great advise to live by. Talking to others and listening to their problems can be so helpful. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

  10. caitlin

    Very thoughtful and true article. Healing is spiritual as well as physical and reaching out to others is so important especially in the area of healing.

  11. Chris W.

    I agree that talking with others and helping them with their problems makes our own not seem not as bad. I’ll bet that it was great therapy for you and your fellow patients to open out and talk about your problems. At least you knew that you were not alone. You and the others could help each other through a difficult time.

  12. sarah

    Being a good listener is an important tool to help those in need. This is a great way to help others while helping yourself during recovery.

  13. Kris H

    This is often hard for me to do as I am no a very emotional person. Next time I am in hospital, I will make an attempt to be more open and loving, holding their hand and stroking their hair. I know I am often afraid to show my true feelings and will attempt to do so when in this situation again.

  14. Sandra Harriette

    The expression of compassion and concern stems directly from the fourth chakra, the heart chakra. This is an energy center that connects the emotional body to the physical body and helps such systems like the circulatory system. Blood circulation plays big role in immune functions, which aids healing as well. It’s all connected 🙂

  15. Samantha R.

    It’s so hard to open up are heart because some of us are afraid of getting hurt but it makes them tough times so much easier.

  16. Caitlyn

    My father and mother divorced when I was very young. And afterwards I never heard from my father again. Not until I was hospitalized and awaiting major surgery. He came to me with flowers and a hope a forgiveness. At first didn’t want to even see him but I knew I needed to you not just for myself but for him too. I know accepting his flowers and his apology healed something in both of us that day.

  17. sarwarmostafa

    yes we must open our hearts and must feel for others..Let the person speak without interrupting. Always appear interested and sympathetic. connecting with others is an important part of the healing process.

  18. Rezwan

    I think illness can easily be recovered by the love of dear ones. When i feel weak or my health falls then my wife pays more attention to me & gives me more care. I always recover quickly. So love is the best medicine undoubtedly.

  19. Tarry Brown

    Good post! opening your heart to others can bring happiness in life. we should think about others too.

  20. Kristina

    Totally agree with this. I was in hospital recently feeling sorry for myself and I started to chat the lady next to me and by the end of it I didn’t feel so bad. She was telling me how her children don’t talk to each other and that she had been in hospital for over a week and none of her children had come to visit her during that time, and I had all my family visit me. Talking to others make your pain less as well.

  21. Chris

    Yep as the saying goings a problem shared is a problem halved. Reaching the stage you feel you can share your experiences is essential to the healing process !

  22. jackson ripper

    I am a very good listener no matter how old or young you may be or how many times you may tell me the same thing, I always sit down and listen to what others have to say. Sometimes you may even learn a thing or two

  23. Jess L.

    Being a listener is actually hard for some people. It’s important to know that sometimes others just need a listener and not words. Good article.

  24. Swaolatul

    This is damn true. So we should open our heart to others. That is the best way to keep ourselves happy & sound.

  25. Heather

    Seems like you truly fully understand a good deal pertaining to this subject and that
    demonstrates through this unique article,
    titled “Opening Your Heart to Others Will Heal You | Brain Tumour & Stroke Recovery”.
    Thank you -Jillian


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