I have so many friends who are hurting right now. It seems like so many people are going through a painful time in their lives for one reason or another. So what do you do? How do you help someone you love who is in pain?
We make the mistake too many times of saying things like, “let me know if you need anything” and “I’m praying for you”, but we leave it at that. Even if we truly mean that, people aren’t likely to call us up and say, “hey, I need this or that”. After going through some hard times in my life I have discovered a better way to help those who are hurting. I don’t think I have it all together yet and am super helper girl, but I do know what helped me when I was going through something and what didn’t. I will start with what not to do:
1. Don’t do nothing. Don’t pretend the people who are hurting don’t exist or pretend they aren’t going through something. They need to talk about it. They need to know you remember their pain. They need you to act. Spend time with them. Take them a meal. Give them a hug. Send them a card. Ignoring something they are going through because you don’t know what to say or it makes you uncomfortable isn’t the answer. Do something!
2. Don’t give cliché, pat you on the head, answers to their problem. If someone is going through something hard and you personally haven’t experienced that situation yourself, you can’t say anything to make this any better. You can’t understand what they are going through, so assuming you do won’t help. Tell them you don’t understand, but you are there for them. Let them talk. So many times we make the mistake of talking to fill up empty space. You don’t need to say anything. Just spend time listening and cry with that person. Or get mad with them or be happy with them, whatever they need.
What you should do:
Call them. Bother them until they know you care. I think we give up too easily and just allow people to feel alone at the risk of annoying them. Annoy your friends. Let them know you are thinking of them. Pursue them relentlessly. I can’t remember a time I felt like one of my friends let me know they cared too often when I was hurting. Tell them you love them. Just be there. Take them dinner. Do some housework for them. Go out of your way to show you care.
I think most people want to show their loved ones they care when that person is going through something but just don’t know how. They assume they have to come up with something eloquent to say, but it’s just not true. People know how much you care not by what you say, but by your actions. Make sure to slow down enough today to notice those around you who are hurting and do something about it.