Domestic abuse. Alcoholism. These are just a few of the issues that can create serious struggles in a person’s life. Even relatively minor setbacks can cause someone to suffer deep emotional pain. So how can you provide appropriate comfort to someone who is struggling?
Seeking to understand and validate a struggling person’s feelings is perhaps the most important step in providing comfort. This is often referred to as “witnessing” an individual’s emotions—acknowledging that you can see how they’re feeling, and that it’s okay for them to feel sad. If you don’t fully comprehend their feelings, ask questions so you can understand!
Quite often, this allows someone struggling with domestic abuse or another issue to open up about what is happening in their life. The simple act of venting can often be enough to cheer someone up and improve their perspective. Remember, not everyone is looking for you to solve their problems or try to cheer them up. Sometimes, this can even come across as an attempt to minimize their struggles—so don’t offer unsolicited ideas or try to distract from the problem at hand.
Instead, let them vent. Let them know that you support them and care for them. If advice is wanted (such as what can be done to escape domestic abuse), help the struggling individual come up with action steps to accomplish their goal.
By following these guidelines, you can provide appropriate emotional strength to those who need it most.