We are all relational beings. We are a function of the persons who have contributed into our lives in one way or the other. Loved ones (friends, family) are not just there to celebrate with us when things are great, but to help us through the tough seasons also. As sad as it is, tough seasons are a part of the package called life. How do you help a loved one who is currently in a tough and painful season? What steps or ways can you help a hurting loved one, friend or family?

Here are ways you can help a hurting loved one.

1. Pray for them.

There is peace and clarity in prayer. It can help you help them better. You can get insight and wisdom on how to reach them. There’s a limit to how far you can go with your natural wisdom.

2. Ask how they are doing.

Simple and obvious, right? But, not everyone does it. Some just assume you should be doing fine especially if you have a strong personality. Some people have a problem with you asking how they are doing- they’d rather not talk about it. You can say instead, “I really hope you are doing okay”, “I pray for you and I want you to be better”, something that isn’t really a question. Many times, if they want to talk about it, it will prompt them to, and if they don’t want to, you have shown them that you care and you are there for them.

3. Don’t assume.

People actually know what they want. Don’t assume they are ready to talk about it, they may not be. Don’t assume they are not ready to talk about it, they may be. Don’t assume they have moved on, they might have not. Don’t assume they need a hug, they may not need one. Don’t assume they need your advice, they may not need it. Don’t give unnecessary advice. I know giving advice makes you feel good and sometimes important but really, it’s not about you.

4. Give them space to let it out.

All these “stop crying”, “crying is for boys”, “you have other children”, “you can get married again”, “don’t worry, you can get pregnant again”, “another man will come, “is it because you lost a job that you are crying like this?” should stop- except you are trying to help them combat a negative thought. It’s always okay to cry, vent, and let it out. Give your loved ones a safe space to do that even if according to you, it’s for something as “silly as a breakup”.

5. Don’t let them drown in the pain.

That’s why you are there to bring balance. Handling pain can be like staggering when walking down a road; accidents can happen, and some accidents can be really fatal, leading to other undesirable things. You are there to walk down that road with them, encourage them, ensure they don’t fall and if they do, pick them up. Don’t let your friends lose “touch” of reality. Take them out. Let them fellowship, let them interact with people, help them see the beautiful things of life; spoil them once in a while. Remind them of the things that matter.

6. Pray for them.

I said it again. That’s for you to understand how important it is. Prayer heals broken hearts.

Written by Ayo Tonia

Read next; Dealing with Life’s Many Woes

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