It can be really easy to feel bad about ourselves. The pressure of modern life is seriously intense. It’s hard to see someone we care about struggling. Whether it’s our best friend or a coworker who suddenly withdraws, we want to find the right words to say but it can be really hard to know what can help and not make it worse. Here’s what we came up with:
People who have stopped believing in themselves may feel isolated from their loved ones because they may believe that people won’t understand what they’re going through. Reaching out to a discouraged friend is a powerful first step to take. It may feel difficult and awkward at first, but many people feel relieved when others make the effort to understand them.
Researcher Brené Brown describes empathy as the act of recognizing feelings in others and communicating that understanding. Empathy can be profound, and it’s one of the most important ways that we, as humans, build connections with others. And during difficult moments, these connections can be pivotal.
In conversation, empathy can sound like:
- “The situation you’re in sounds really difficult, and you’re doing the best you can.”
- “It sounds like you’re feeling very discouraged. I’m really sorry you’re going through this right now.”
- “If I was going through those same things, I’d feel sad, too. I understand why you’d feel that way.”
Gratitude can help improve relationships as well as boost happiness. If you are trying to help a friend going through a rough patch, you can try to help them remember their value by reminding them how grateful you are to know them. Remember those fun memories you share? Being glad for knowing someone can help them find the energy to be glad for themselves, too. Maybe they will join you in being grateful and start to refocus on the things they are glad for, too. Then you’re really making progress.
Help Them Identify Their Strengths
For people who are in the thick of it, it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees. You can help a discouraged friend by reminding them of what they’re good at. Maybe your friend bakes a mean apple pie or she’s especially good at throwing a party. Or, you can just remind them of how helpful they’ve been to you in the past during times of need.
There is Power in Asking
Sometimes we tell people what we think they need when what they really need is for us to ask them what they need and help them act on it. Above all, it’s most important to actively listen.
You can help someone who has stopped believing in themselves by connecting through empathy, expressing gratitude, and reminding your friend of their positive qualities — and most of all by listening to them. Your willingness to uplift your friend during a difficult time may just be the nudge they need to begin feeling themselves again.
~Here’s to Your Success