Your friend or family member probably suffers from sadness, anxiety, or disguise.
It hurts when someone you care about—a partner, a relative, or a close friend—is going through a tough time.
You wish to lend a hand but are unsure what to do. It’s not easy to keep your own spirits up when things get tough.
For guidance across this treacherous mental landscape, we sought the help of professionals.
The first step is to determine whether the issue is clinical and requires professional treatment or situational (such as the loss of a job, a relationship, or a parent) and, therefore, temporary or permanent.
It is never a good idea to remark, “I know how you feel,” or something like that to the victim, as this implies that the problem lies entirely with them.
Instead, you may point out that you are in no position to properly empathize with them until you have experienced what they are going through yourself.
Express your concern for a loved one and how much they mean to you by spending time with them.
Express compassion by saying something like, “I’m sorry you’re going through this.”
If you believe a loved one needs medical attention:
- Realize that the only thing you can do to help is to be there for them and to reassure them of that fact regularly.
- Make it known that you believe they might benefit from consulting an expert.
- Though it hurts to think about it, there are occasions when a person does not want to improve or cannot be helped.
- You may have reached a point when acceptance is your only option.
- Depending on the nature of the source of your misery, you may be able to:
- You might need to be present for them and offer reassurance for this to be enough.
- Most people will lament the loss of a loved one and eventually move on with their lives because they do not wish to be unhappy.
- They will make an effort to improve their situation by engaging in therapeutic dialogue, engaging in physical activity, and focusing on positive activities.
- If you can, make advice you believe will assist, or be there to help them during this difficult time.
1. Show Up
If you believe the issue is temporary or that you can assist your loved one, consider giving the gift of your time and presence by listening to them, standing by them, and comforting them.
Clinical social worker and author of Stop Self-Sabotage Pat Pearson, M.S.W., recommends “gently probing” if the person in question is a spouse.
A change in your demeanor has been noted. Anything happened to you recently that’s made you sad? I adore you,” followed by encouraging comments. Remember that I am present and concerned.
What is it, exactly?
Pat notes that men prefer to turn inward when hurt, so they don’t have to confront their partners about their feelings. “I hurt, or my friend died…or I’m furious about finances,” they would remark instead.
Specifically, she suggests prioritizing providing assistance.
Only after you’ve made several attempts to listen should you let go; it’s also important to let them know that you’re doing so they don’t feel abandoned.
Tell your partner you will reengage when they open up,” she says.
Let the other person have the floor if you can facilitate dialogue.
“Many times, depression is wrath turned within. As Pat advises, allow your loved one to vent their emotions and offer support as they do so.
3. Acknowledge That Unhappiness Can Be a Catalyst for Positive Alteration
Even if it hurts to experience pain, it can be beneficial in the long run.
It’s not unusual for folks to hit rock bottom before they can finally start climbing back up.
4. Shout It Out To Your Friends
It’s challenging to feel powerless in the face of a loved one’s unhappiness.
Pat suggests you “go about your life and reach out to other friends.”
Just don’t be a martyr about it.
It would be best if you shared your feelings of annoyance, worry, and rage. “That phrase keeps the emotions moving.”
5. Define Limits
No matter how well-meaning your motives are, becoming emotionally entangled isn’t productive.
Pat says, “You have to take credit for the joy you can bring into the world.”
That joy already exists within you.
You can extend the offer of joy, but it is ultimately up to the recipient to accept.
That’s where you draw the line between being generous and taking on too much.
6. Safeguard Yourself
Believe that no matter how much you care about someone, you can’t control their feelings.
You should take precautions to safeguard yourself if you discover that someone you care about is unwilling or unable to move on. You need not shoulder the burden of a loved one’s troubles.
Avoid becoming emotionally invested in your loved one’s distress by giving yourself time and space to recuperate.
7. Care for Your Own Joy First
Pursuing your own happiness isn’t egotistical, even if it means ignoring the distress of those you care about.
As you rejoice, you inspire hope in those around you.
By letting others in on your good mood, you can spread it to others around you and make their day a little brighter too.
When we witness a friend or family member in distress, our first instinct is to offer assistance.
If a loved one doesn’t recover from a loss or adversity and it seems to worsen, it’s important to keep listening and remain optimistic while pushing them to receive expert help.
Recognize that sharing your joy can help others find their own and allow you to enjoy life.