“It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.” ~ Leo Buscaglia
There is nothing more painful than watching those we love to go down a path of self-destruction and struggle with dark times. Things feel out of control and helpless as you notice with big sad eyes that your friends or family are in deep pain. It is also incredibly scary when you realize that even with all your love and support things are absolutely not in your control.
How to Offer Support to Someone You Love?
Have you ever found yourself in this situation? The reasons for their pain could be anything – addiction, mental illness, health issues, depression, and even a big challenge etc. We are incredibly affected by our relationships and always want the best for our loved ones. I have found that there is a lot of power in surrendering control.
7 Ways To Support Someone You Love
Here are a few ways you can support a loved one (and yourself) through difficult times:
1. Continue to live your life
As difficult as this may sound, your first priority in life has to be yourself. If you are not sleeping, working or able to live your life as a result of concentrating and worrying about a loved one, you are only hurting yourself and that doesn’t help anyone. From this place, we cannot support in an authentic way. And you may need to consider if what’s best for you is taking some space away.
2. Unconditional love
Loving someone doesn’t mean fixing their problems. It means deeply listening, asking, and ALLOWING them to be where they are and who they are in that moment. Reminding them that you love them “unconditionally” no matter how they behave and what they struggle with.
3. Understand your role
In many life experiences we take on and play different roles, it is important to know that it is not your fault nor your job to fix anything. As people living in this life experience, there is a limitation to what we can control. That doesn’t mean we cannot talk, offer to take a friend to a meeting or hold an intervention but it does mean that we must accept that the future doesn’t lie in our hands and it will always be up to the person themselves to take steps and make changes.
Trusting that there is someone or something above guiding you and protecting your loved ones is invaluable. Asking for help, guidance and openly talking is vital. If you don’t usually pray, try it and see what comes out.
Your thoughts and imagination are powerful. Just as you feel horrible when imagining a negative outcome, you can feel positive and peaceful when imagining a positive outcome. Things can look bad and out of control but your hope and positivity deeply help your loved one. Continue thinking of what could change for the better and imagine the person living to their fullest potential and smiling.
“The power of imagination is incredible. Often we see athletes achieving unbelievable results and wonder how they did it. One of the tools they use is visualization or mental imagery… they made the choice to create their destinies and visualized their achievements before they ultimately succeeded.” ~ George Kohlrieser
6. Let go of Judgment
Things look and feel bad, however, make space to consider that each person’s life experience cannot be labeled as good or bad. Yes, there are dark times but you have no idea why this person may be going through this dark times perhaps it is necessary for their soul’s evolution and maybe there are exactly where they should be in their life. It is not your job to judge the experience.
Believe it or not, your loved one who is struggling is your teacher. Even with your wish to make everything better and have things be ok, you can step back and create space for other learnings for yourself. On the highest level, what is this teaching you about life, love, and yourself? For example compassion, trust, patience, and acceptance.
Some of our most painful challenges come to us indirectly through someone we deeply care about. Although we cannot make these experiences painless, we can take steps to learn, grow and do the best we can with what we have.
I hope this post supports you and reminds you that you are not alone. Sending you and your loved one love and positive wishes. If you desire more support around this feel free to comment below and reach out to me!