I know what it’s like when you have someone reach out to you to share about a problem or challenge that they’re having. You want to be there for them, you want to be the best friend you can, you want to help them.
You know exactly what to do.
You listen to their problems. You know how they feel, you’ve been there yourself.
You want to help, support, nurture.
You want them to feel better.
You want to have helped them in some way.
So you dive in and do everything you can to help them get out of where they’re at and into a better place.
They feel better, you feel better…everyone is happier.
That makes you the best friend in the world, right?
The thing is that sometimes we’re so eager to help a friend to move out of her pain…that we don’t allow her to really feel it.
As we know, in order to fully release emotions, and to let them go, we need to fully feel them.
So sometime by trying to help someone ‘feel better’ we actually deny them the very thing they need to be able to process their emotions and move on.
So how can you help?
Well the first thing you can do to help a friend who is going through a tough time is allow them to be where they are.
Rather than trying to pick them up and help them feel better…allow them to be where they’re at, allow them to feel how they feel, and to express it. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to just allow them to fully express how they’re feeling, and ‘get it all out’.
By doing this, we’re not just allowing them to go through their process, but you’re actually helping them to do it by fully feeling their emotions in order to move through them.
If they’re wallowing as opposed to processing (if you’re not sure the difference between wallowing in your emotions and processing them then check out this post here: http://feminine1st.com/emotions/whats-difference-feeling-emotions-wallowing/) then by all means feel free to give them a nudge so that they don’t stay somewhere that isn’t serving them, but if they’re just being in their emotions so that they can process them then sometimes the best thing you can do is just allow them to be there.
Allow them to be in their yucky stuff…allow them to be in their pain….and just be there with them.
When one of my closest female friends was going through a tough time a few months ago the hardest thing was the fact that we don’t live in the same country. We both said the same thing…if we’d been in the same town, we’d have spent a weekend curled up on a sofa under a duvet allowing her to be in her stuff, but having me there to support her while she needed to go through it. Not to do anything, or say anything….just to be there.
When we’re going through a tough time, the hardest thing can be feeling like you’re doing it ‘alone’…so having someone to be there with you when you’re going through the toughest times can make all the difference.
I was visiting another friend about 18 months ago, when she was going through a very difficult time. In spite of the difficult time, she was feeling the need to put a ‘brave face’ on things, and not to give in to how she was feeling. One afternoon while I was sorting out a few things in my room she came to the door and simply asked, “Can I talk to you?”
We sat crossed legged opposite each other on the bed and over the next half an hour I sat and listened and held her hands as she crumbled in front of me. I barely said anything, I just sat and held space for her. I listened. I reached out to her. I let her be exactly where she needed to be…in order to choose to deal with her situation differently.
Rather than running around all evening meeting up with people and doing stuff to keep the people around her happy…she realised that she needed to take care of herself. The two of us went to a restorative yoga class that afternoon followed by a mediation centre in the evening. The difference in her was amazing, and it was all because she’d been allowed to just go through her process.
So when you find yourself in a situation like this I encourage you to ask just one of two simple questions: “How can I best help you right now?” or “What do you need from me right now?”. Maybe even offering “I can just listen, or just be here if that’s what you need”.
…and the key with answering those questions is to not be attached to them answering in any particular way…allow them to tell you what they want and need, and then be there to give it to them.
Sometimes the best help doesn’t look like help at all. It’s just a friend standing by another friend, being there for them.