Sometimes when bad things happen, even to our best friends and those we love, it’s difficult to deal with their suffering. We can even surprise ourselves with a desire to disappear, even though we know it’s not the right time to do it. Below are three tips on how to “be there” for those you care about in tough times:
Listen with an open heart
No, really listen. This means not saying, “I know how you feel” and sharing a personal story. It might seem like you’re diminishing the other person’s pain, or worse, that you’re seizing an opportunity to talk about yourself. In fact, no one can truly know the depth of another’s pain. Each person is born with a “set point” of emotional resilience, some people bounce while others break. Don’t judge, don’t try to be funny, just listen fully and sympathetically.
Even so, listening can be wearing when your friend repeats the story over and over and over again. While this is trying, it’s an unavoidable part of processing pain, so bear with it. It won’t last forever. Try to listen each time with care and attention despite the tedious repetition. Repetition is how the mind tries to accept the pain and then process it. It’s a bit similar to desensitization, as repeated exposure to a stimulus robs it of its power. Don’t worry, your friend will gradually begin to release the pain and to heal.
It almost doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it’s something that your friend appreciated before their grief. If you make a mean margarita or killer pasta, have a dinner party in their honor. Maybe set time aside for a hike in nature or pick a favorite band and buy tickets for the two of you. Any of these gestures will remind your friend that she is cared for. A dark time can be so isolating that acts of care and kindness can mean the world. Doing something concrete as a means of showing your affection and concern will give great comfort, even if your friend doesn’t immediately show their appreciation.
It can be overwhelming when a friend is depressed or in a deep state of grief. Often advice or offers of help may be hotly rejected, and any attempts to put a positive spin on things will get shot down. Try not to take it personally, try to stay focused on your goal of being there for your friend. It’s likely that this phase will last longer than you’d prefer. Take care of yourself, try to stay appropriately detached yet caring, remain patient and continue to listen. This tough time will pass, and eventually your friend will laugh in the sunlight.
Reaching out while someone walks through the dark night of the soul is a tremendous gift. It is the most precious gift, the giving of oneself. This can be a spiritual life lesson for you both, to witness the power of pain and stand firm in its presence.
If you need a help navigating someone you love through the dark, or if you are having a tough time dealing with a loss pain, try talking to one of our caring psychics at…
|If you need help navigating someone you love through the dark, or if you are having a tough time yourself, talk to one of our caring psychics. Call 1.800.573.4830 or click here now.|