Sometimes we are vulnerable and need support. But many people find it difficult to ask for it. If you want to support a loved one who is now overcome by anxiety, worry, fear, it is important to do it correctly. Here are a few tips to help you in this.
Let Your Loved One Know That Their Feelings Are Important
Humans are social creatures. For our ancestors, surviving outside of a social group was almost impossible. That’s why our psyche is shaped with an “outward-looking” attitude: our brains are constantly scanning reality and asking, “Am I doing everything right? Am I accepted by the group?”
When we are gripped by heavy emotions, that sense of “Am I being accepted?” doesn’t go anywhere. When a person is going through a difficult emotion, the first thing that is important to show them is that you accept them in any way, with any feelings or experiences.
Let Them Express Their Feelings the Way They Want to
We are all different and we don’t handle difficult emotions in the same way. Everyone experiences things differently: one wants to speak out, the other wants to remain in silence. Your job is to be there and give the person what he needs. You can nod, you can ask clarifying questions, you can offer to do something together, like playing at HellSpin casino or gazing at stars, you can reflect on their emotions and share your own.
If the person informs you that he wants to be alone, let him know that you are ready to be there for him and provide any help and support. But don’t impose and don’t try to distract him because indeed sometimes the presence of another, even a close person, can interfere with living feelings.
Don’t Use Stop Phrases
These are all kinds of “pep talk” that actually devalue the other person’s feelings. What you definitely shouldn’t say: ‘don’t worry/ don’t get sour/ get yourself together/ be strong’, ‘everything will be okay/ everything will pass/ time heals’, ‘that’s life’, ‘I know how you feel’ – all these phrases don’t help the person. They are all about the fact that emotions shouldnt be shown, that they are not important and what happened isn’t important, that the state in which the person is now is wrong and unhealthy.
Also, don’t give unsolicited advice or talk about other people’s grief in similar situations.
Use Supportive Phrases
During the living of difficult emotions, many of us are overcome by an acute sense of loneliness. Therefore, the main point of your support is to show your loved one that he is not alone, that you are at his side and on his team.
Use the following phrases to help support your loved one:
- “I am with you”; “I want to support you, what can I do for you?”
- “You are not alone, you can share with me.”
- “If you need anything, tell me, I’m ready to help.
- “I want to go for a walk now, will you keep me company?”
- “What you’re feeling is okay.”
- “What happened is really terrible, I’m grieving with you.”
And sometimes, says psychologist, you can do without words. Instead of words, sometimes it’s important to just sit next to or hug the person.
In any case, you should listen to your loved one and not do anything he does not like. The same applies to hugging – not everyone likes tactile contact, so before you take someone’s hand or hug, be sure to ask if he feels comfortable. If not – you shouldn’t do it. Just sit next to them.
This is already the territory of your feelings. The main thing in support is sincerity. You shouldn’t say anything if you don’t think so or if you don’t have the strength to support. It’s okay not to want or be able to support, don’t be ashamed of it. To help someone you have to have your own resources to do this. If you understand that the person needs professional help, contact a psychologist.
Try to Separate Other People’s Emotions From Yours
If you are a sensitive person and easily “infected” by other people’s emotions, be careful when giving support to someone. Try to internally separate the other person’s feelings from yours – this will help you remain stable.
It will also be helpful to turn your attention to things that energize you and give you a resource after the meeting is over.