We rise by lifting others – Ingersoll Roberts
When someone is going through a difficult time, they can be so distressed, thereby reducing their mental capacity to deal with problems or with their usual responsibilities. They can be so mired in their pain that they lose perspective.
At such times, it helps to have an external person supporting them and helping them through difficult times. It is important to know how to be there for someone in situations.
The reality is that you will need to be there for people at different points in your life. Being there for someone sometimes requires that you be absent from yourself. Being there for someone means being present physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Some people have a natural knack for supporting others, but this does not come naturally to other people. You might be tempted to run away from the person or situation, but there is no need for that. With a little patience and some practice, you can develop your skills and learn how to be there for someone in need.
Things we do for others is what life is all about
When someone is going through a difficult time, they might not want to ask for help, or they might feel like a burden to others. Remind them that you want to help and that you care about them.
○ Small gestures can have a big impact
You do not have to do something major or grand to show your support. Small gestures can have a huge impact, especially when you support someone in a way that they need.
In most cases, someone may not need a major intervention. What they need is a little bit of reassurance that they are not alone.
The key is to remember that being there for someone means putting in the time and effort required so that they know that you care about them and that you are available for them.
○ Impact on our mind knowing we were useful
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25, NIV)
Emotional support is not tangible. You might not see it or hold it in your hand, but that does not mean that it is insignificant. What’s more, you might not notice its impact right away, especially if someone is struggling.
But when you provide emotional support, it is a great way to remind someone that they are important to you, you value and love them, and that you have their back.
Helping others will have a positive impact on your physical and mental health. It helps to reduce stress and keeps you mentally stimulated, and gives you a sense of purpose.
○ They will be there for you when the time comes
When you offer support to someone when they are in distress, you are essentially letting them know that they are not alone. Over time, they may be willing to return the favor and have your back when you are going through difficult times. This is because encouragement goes straight to the heart.
The people in your life, like your colleagues, neighbors, and friends, can lift you when you are down by offering you emotional and physical support. This is because they know you are a person who will be there for them when the time comes.
In addition, you may even get support from the universe indirectly in different ways. All you can do at such times is to thank god for being kind to you, but in reality, the universe is just giving back what you gave it.
10 Impactful ways to be there for someone in need
Does a friend or a family member have a lot on their plate? It might not be easy to know how you can support them. If you’d like to help a hurting family member or friend who has been ignored, here are 10 impactful ways you can be there for them when they are going through a rough patch in life:
1. Learn to listen to them and not just to hear
One of the most helpful ways you can be there for someone is by listening to them with compassion. Give them your full attention when they want to talk. It seems like such a simple thing, but it can make a big difference to their mental health. Learn to be silent and be their sounding board when they need someone to listen to them.
Learn to listen and not just to hear. Listen with empathy and be open to what they might say. Be attuned to their tone of voice and body language and learn to read in between the lines when they are talking. Avoid judgmental words, as this can make it hard for someone to express what they feel.
Having conversations with the person will help you know what’s going on with them, helping you to be better equipped to support them.
If someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope. – Elizabeth Gilbert
It can be hard to find the right words to say to someone who believes life sucks. One of the things you can do is to share your own story that is similar to what they are going through.
If you have been in a similar situation in the past, you probably have insight on how to deal with the situation. Sharing your story with the other person can be quite helpful.
This could help them relate better with you, improve their mental health, boost their mood and help them make sense of what is happening.
3. Plan a distracting activity
Some situations can be so difficult, and you may have no solution for them. This might leave both of you feeling a little helpless, and in such cases, choosing to focus on other things might help to improve the person’s mental health.
Organize a fun, low-key activity that will help you spend time with them and make them forget they are sad. It doesn’t have to be something expensive. For example, you can focus on a simple idea, such as taking a walk, going for a picnic, or visiting a restaurant. Think about what activities they enjoy and what they like to do for fun.
Choose an activity that will help them to relax and not an activity that will put more pressure on them. Opt for an activity that you can easily reschedule in case they are not up to it.
4. Physical touch can make a difference
Physical affection might not be appropriate in some situations. But depending on the kind of relationship you have with the individual you want to support, hugs, kisses, and other kinds of touches can have a powerful impact. It might be exactly what they need.
For example, after a difficult conversation, you can hold the hand of a loved one or hug them. This reinforces your emotional support. Or cuddling with a loved one at the end of a hard day can show that you empathize with them. It can even be something as simple as a pat on the shoulder.
5. Respect their Space
People handle issues in an individualized way. There are different coping strategies and different responses and emotions. That is why it is important to be sensitive to the needs of an individual and give them space.
Healing happens gradually. It takes time and cannot be rushed. Therefore, be patient with the person and allow the healing process to unfold naturally.
Remember that this is not about you but the other individual. Give them space, and when they feel comfortable, they will talk to you based on the kind of relationship that they have with you.
As long as your friend is not in any danger of hurting themselves, allow them to deal with the issue the best way they know-how, even if you do not agree on how they go about it.
6. Don’t Leave Them Hanging
Don’t leave someone in an unresolved situation. Have a conversation with them on how to take things step-by-step, as they do not have to fix the entire problem all at once. This will give them perspective and help them to make progress, as they take things slowly.
Also, once you have supported a loved one through a hard time, you mustn’t drop the matter completely. Check-in and talk with the person from time to time to evaluate how they are coping with their circumstances (keeping in mind when to give them their space). When things are not going well for them, remind them how to handle the situation.
7. Let go of wanting to change them
The desire to change people so that they can meet our expectations is strong and natural. Unfortunately, it is also toxic and stressful, especially if the person doesn’t want to change.
When your loved one is struggling, they are probably upset and blaming themselves for the situation. The last thing they want is for you to blame them and want to change them.
What they need at that moment is your unconditional love and support through the bad times. Stop trying to change them and accept their view, behavior, and opinions. Respect their freedom and autonomy and believe that they will learn from their mistakes and change on their own.
8. Research support groups that can help them
One of the most important things you can do to help improve the person’s mental health is to connect the person with helpful services. Guide them to helpful resources. A support group is a good place to start. If you know of a support group that can help the person, especially within your community, share this information with them.
This is especially when you are not able to be fully there for them or you are not close friends. You can delegate this responsibility to another party that will be helpful to the individual.
Support groups remind them that they are not alone and that others have found a solution to a similar problem, so this leaves them hopeful. If it is not possible to join a physical support group, organize for them to join an online support group.
9. Do an act of service
Offer practical help. When someone is dealing with a problem, they might be unable to cope with normal day-to-day activities, as their mental health is not good. Consider assisting them with daily tasks, such as household chores.
Even small acts like taking them to an appointment or taking them food shopping can make a big difference. If you ask the person how you can help them, they might likely not answer you. The best thing is to offer to help in specific ways.
10. Let them know that you are always watching over them
When someone is struggling, they may feel that they are all alone, so your support will mean a lot to them. Remind the person that they are not alone. Knowing that you are always watching over them will cause them to feel more hopeful and less lonely.
Just the strength of stating these words cannot be underestimated and it can mean everything to someone who is going through hard times. Your non-judgmental caring presence will make a big difference in how they cope and in their mental health.
An Overview: Help them see a bright future
It is painful to see someone you care about going through a tough situation. But you have the incredible power of being there for them when they need you. The capacity to walk with someone when they are going through difficult times is a powerful healer and is good for their mental health. It can be inconvenient, and it can be challenging, but it can be done.
It is also important that you help the person to come up with an action plan that will help them move forward in life. You may want to talk to them about practical steps they want to take and how you would support them going forward.
When someone is in the middle of a problem, it can seem like a never-ending situation, but being there for them and suggesting things that can help them overcome their situation can help them break out of the cycle.