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  • SuePattonThoele

Cradling a Hurting Heart

Our hearts are vast beyond comprehension and, yes, vulnerable and easily hurt. Today, my heart is steadfastly doing it’s life-sustaining work while also busily balancing an array of emotions. Due to grief, concern, and sadness, my heart is in need of a little gentle kindness. Yours may feel similarly much of the time.

Self-supportive attitudes are essential for cradling hurting hearts. I often use the following three attitudes to help soothe and mend my heart.


Awareness is the first step toward healing. What is known can be transformed. In a warm, protected cradle of benevolent and gentle interest, our hearts can safely explore vulnerabilities, wounds, and struggles as well as insights, triumphs, and joys. Awareness and exploration help you understand your feelings. Understanding provides insight into what might be healing and helpful for your aching heart, and also keeps you from projecting misunderstood feelings onto others, which, by itself, is conducive to a happier heart.


For much of my life, resistance and its kissing cousins blame and shame (BS for short) were knee-jerk reactions to difficult feelings and circumstances. Thankfully, age and experience have taught me that resistance and BS magnify, rather than diminish, pain and I can usually choose to embrace the feminine energy of acceptance. Becoming more skilled in the art of acceptance is surprisingly strengthening and has also increased my peace of mind immensely. Hurting hearts are more apt to transform pain into compassion, understanding, and wisdom when cradled in the soft embrace of acceptance.


Almost any situation has the possibility of either awe or amusement in it when we are able to consider that option. Recently, I heard an interview with an author whose memoir included her cancer journey. The author shared she made it a point to look for heartening moments during chemo treatments. One day she observed an elderly gentleman gently moving a wisp of hair from his wife’s eye. Seeing that glimpse of long-term love lifted her heart and brought a smile to her face. I remember a similar moment. Riding in the mortuary’s family car on the way to my mother’s burial, my dad pointed out the window at a foal and its mother. Baby was exuberantly kicking up her heels as mom looked on with what I saw as delight. Thirty years down the road, that sweet moment is one of my clearest memories from of that day.

During your day...

  • If your heart is hurting, treat it as a loving, delighted, and indulgent mother would.

  • Live gently with your own and others’ hearts.

Our sorrows and wounds are healed only

when we touch them with compassion.


Excerpted from The Woman's Book of Strength by Sue Patton Thoele. Available on Mango and Amazon.

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