Moments of consolation

Moments of consolation


Adversity is unfortunately a part of life. When one is struck by a blow of fate, it becomes imperative to find a way out. According to the author Christophe André, the different forms of consolation can help to get through the trials that life imposes on us. 

“ Consolation allows the repair of all the broken bonds through adversity,” says French author and psychiatrist Christophe André, who wanted to write this book in 2015, when he learned he had lung cancer.

It was hindsight and healing that allowed him, several years later, to finally write this book, where several life experiences related to suffering and the virtues of consolation are presented.

If the author met a phenomenal number of people broken by psychic suffering during his practice, he had not understood the full importance of consolation before he himself was struck by the fear of dying .

Consolations Those we receive and those we give, Christophe André, Éditions de l'Iconoclaste, 340 pages

“I opened my eyes to this need for consolation that one feels when one feels very fragile. I had an immense need for consolation, confides Christophe André. Unfortunately, psychiatrists learn not to express their emotions too much to their patients and to keep a therapeutic distance, while we seek some consolation by consulting. Sometimes a single word can help the patient move forward and heal. 

A word, certainly, can be comforting. In his book, Consolations, the author offers a host of consolation suggestions, which are so important when things are going badly and will help you get up when you fall.

« The movement of consolation is a re-connection with oneself and with others”, underlines the author. In fact, in the face of adversity we can have a loss of connection with ourselves since we can feel guilty by looking for what we did wrong to cause this misfortune.

“There is no need to add another source of stress by blaming yourself and attacking yourself when you already have to face adversity,” says Christophe André.

Otherwise, many will cut ties with others believing that they are incapable of understanding their despair, which causes a rift with others. Yet, the author believes that everyone faces adversity at some point.

Out of the Darkness

“Suffering is a terrible trap”, explains the psychiatrist, who adds that all our attention revolves around our suffering to the point of seeing nothing else and no longer being able to rejoice or appreciate what whether it be. The rest of the world no longer interests us, suffering takes over.

However, the feeling that we are not alone can help us out of the darkness.

When we are in desolation, despair, psycho-logical distress and when we are sad and unhappy, it is important, according to the author, to try something.

“We must try to initiate a movement of change and transformation in order to free oneself from suffering”, illustrates the psychiatrist.

Self-consolation is essential by agreeing to make small efforts to reconnect with the outside world.

Entertainment, such as a walk in nature, listening to music, seeing a show, going to the cinema— or to the museum, are small moments of letting go that divert our attention from our sadness and our darkness.  

We should see these moments of consolation as a breath of fresh air. 

” Instead of shielding ourselves in sadness, we must open up to simple activities, suggests Christophe André. It's not going to fix our problems, they'll still be there, but it allows us to fix ourselves and we can face the problems differently. >

It is also imperative to learn to accept consolation, when we go through a trial, which is not easy for everyone. 

« For some people, it is of an intrusion into one's privacy and one may not be comfortable with that, the author points out. People who want to help us sometimes do so awkwardly and the person who is not well feels obliged to pretend to be better. ”

However, it is essential, believes the author, to accept the consolation of someone who comes to offer us help in order to alleviate our sadness, even if it does not solve anything.

For others, it will be more work to want to provide consolation. 

” These are those who are convinced that life is dreadful and dark and that all consolation is useless  ;”, specifies the author.

And then, there are those who refuse consolation for the wrong reasons, because it amounts to recognizing their inferiority, their weaknesses, their helplessness or their failure. 

“If you are a little narcissistic, you want to be admired, even in suffering,” adds Christophe André.

Finally, accepting consolation is also accepting to be loved.

  • Christophe André is a psychiatrist.
  • He wrote and co-wrote around thirty books.
  • We can learn Learn more about the author by visiting: