You don’t have to be an experienced therapist to support a friend or loved one through adversity. Whether it’s health and illness, family challenges, or grief and loss, it can be hard knowing the right words to say to show love and empathy but also encourage your loved one to find the strength to overcome the hardship.
One of the most helpful ways to walk through life challenges with a friend is to help them reframe a negative mindset. When you counter their frustration or pain with a new perspective, you may just offer the small piece of inspiration they need to make it through the day. Explore these 9 pieces of wisdom and offer one next time a loved one is in a difficult space.
- Don’t break promises to yourself. Remind your friend how dedicated they are to others around them, and how they would never consider offering less than their best to a friend in need. Your loved one should treat herself with the same commitment and love she would a dear friend.
- Is there a different perspective to consider? Don’t press your perspective on a loved one facing adversity, but rather, invite them to consider if there’s a different way to view the situation.
- Remember why you started. Motivation can dwindle as a friend wanes through a divorce, cancer treatments, or therapy. Remind them of their own power and the strength waiting on the other side of the obstacle.
- You are enough. There’s no need for enhancement, special effects, or backbreaking efforts to please others. Remind your friend they are enough exactly as they are.
- This moment is a passing season of life. While no one wants to hear, “It won’t last forever,” it can be helpful to remind them that life happens in seasons, and each season has an ending period. It’s a supportive way to empathize with their pain but also remind them this adversity has an expiration date.
- Look how far you’ve come. Who’s the friend who needs to be reminded of the portion of the journey they’ve already finished? When there seems to be no end in sight, give a new perspective by reminding them there was a day they didn’t think they could make it to this point, but here they are.
- I hear you and I see you. We all have those days when we just want the acknowledgment of being heard. Telling a friend, “I hear you,” or “I see you,” satisfies the hunger for acceptance. It can calm an angry or bitter friend and help you support them without justifying their negative feelings.
- You don’t have to apologize for being sad. Our society has made it unacceptable to cry and feel raw emotion, but if you want to benefit from true joy, you must allow yourself to feel real pain. Tell your friend it’s ok to be sad, to cry, or to need space. There’s no apology needed when you practice self-love.
- Take the first step. Fear and pain can be paralyzing. If a journey seems too difficult or bigger than life, your loved one may need reminding that a single step is all that’s needed.
You don’t have to have all the answers. Offering love and support in the best way you know how is enough.