Friday, December 3, 2010

The Art of Comforting

In every life, there will be a time where we will be called upon to offer comfort.  There will be situations when we face hurting, grieving people and desperately want to say and do the right things.  Most of the time though, these things come unexpectedly.  We are moved with compassion and act quickly to show our care, but lack the adequate time to prepare and rely on cliches of comfort we have heard through the years that 'sound good', but lack true comfort.  Another hindrance to true comfort is in our busy lives today, it is hard to give undivided, unhurried attention or commitment.  We often want to help so we just do something quickly, say some nice words and continue on with our lives. That type of comfort is comfortable for us, but leaves the one we are trying to comfort, lacking and still hurting.  

There is a beautiful art to comforting which brings hope, healing and comfort to those in need.  This comfort is genuine and beneficiall.  The Art of Comforting: What To Say and Do For People In Distress by Val Walker is a resource that will give understanding and guidance to those seeking to be a comforter. 

This book doesn't just give a few tips to enable us to say and do the right things at the right times.  It takes the reader on a journey to identify the major contrasts between the mainstream culture's method of helping and the true helping attitudes and actions of a comforter. Further and deeper awareness is made of a person in distress's feelings and their own descriptions of how they felt when being truly comforted.  Attributes of comforting people are listed and expounded upon.  These are basic attributes most people have inside of them, but this book expounds on the foundation of being fully present with a genuine interest and care for others.

Readers will learn from the author's personal experiences along with 13 top professionals from a variety of fields who daily use comforting skills. They will share tips and guidance on how to bring comfort and support.  Some of the topics include:

  • What to say and what NOT to say to those in distress
  • How to give bad news in a comforting way
  • Activities that provide comfort in times of trial
  • How to identify and utilize your personal strengths to comfort
  • What to write in a card when comforting someone
  • Activities to help children deal with disappointment
  • Ways to comfort ourselves and combat 'compassion fatigue'
 The reader will be reminded of the power and blessing of true comfort and become equpped to be a support to those in need.  The author shares the information in an easily read format that gives the reader a deeper understanding of what hurting people need while storing valuable lessons in the heart, ready to be used when called upon.  The reader will truly feel prepared to give true comfort.

This book should grace the bookshelf of every home (after it is read) as a reference and reminder to keep the skills of comforting sharp and prepared.  The Art of Comforting is reasonably priced around $10.00 and is published by Tarcher/Penguin.  You may also visti the author Val Walker, at her website The Art of Comforting.  

Here are 5 quick but valuable tips to take with you today from The Art of Comforting.

(Disclosure: I received this book, free of charge, from Tarcher/Penguin, for the purposes of this review. All views/opinions are my own.)


  1. Comforting is truly a gift. Having been through the death of two parents this year, we have experienced the blessing of comfort from our bothers ans sisters in Christ. We have also experienced the hurt from those who seemed not to notice what was going on with us. One thing I have learned through the years, is that God not only teaches me through my mistakes, but also through the mistakes of others. This has made me more sensitive, more thoughtful, more aware of the needs of those grieving. And has reminded me that sometimes it is the little things that mean the most.

  2. Sounds like a "must have" type of book. I am always afraid of saying the wrong thing, but yet I don't want to say something or do something, know what I mean? I'll have to definitely check this out. I think as we age too, we have lots more "opportunities" to comfort with friends' aging parents, etc.

    thanks for the review!


  3. This sounds like a great book. I'm going to check it out - and most likely, add it to my shelf. I have a particular friend who is dealing with a prodigal son right now. Sometimes I'm not sure what to say anymore.

    Thanks for your recommendation. I will take it to heart.

    BTW - the picture of Copy and Paste was just TOO cute!!


  4. This sounds like a great book and definitely a must read!!


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