The key ability needed in order to help someone is the ability to accept pain. You build this up by facing your own pain. Engage in a mindfulness practice where you can learn to accept and be with whatever is present for you and have a willingness to delve into your own feelings and experiences and accept and breathe with whatever comes up.
When you have some comfort with this process you can extend it to others. Listen to their story, be open to the feelings and pain revealed by it, and accept whatever they share with you as a gift. You don’t need to fix it for them. You don’t need to advise them about it. Those are just ways of running away from your own discomfort. Accept your own uncomfortable feelings and share their pain with them. This will help them, even if nothing gets fixed.
A wound needs to be aired out if it ever going to heal. When you listen to their pain without judging or running away, you teach them an important lesson. You teach them that, while their pain remains painful, they don’t need to heap shame on top of it. Shame, the fear that their weakness or pain makes them bad or unlovable, is like infection that gets into a wound. Often the infection is more dangerous than the wound itself.
So this is the gift you give them, when they gift you with their story and their pain, you accept it and so show them that despite their pain they are acceptable, even lovable. This is the soul of compassion.