Let's not make dark become darker.
A post about empathy.
It's a very sad thing when someone finally finds the courage to reach out, but they only get let down or turned away.
This may come from the most well meaning of intentions, but the lack of mental health awareness overrides the goodwill.
Words seemingly like:
"Perhaps you haven't been praying enough."
"You're depressed? Maybe you should try doing something you enjoy."
"You're anxious? Try not to think too much"
"Think on the brightside. Others have it worse".
These words are ones that do not recognise pain. These are words that choose to ignore.
Instead, may i offer a little bit of guidance here? Let's try to offer EMPATHY instead.
This can be a reflection of FEELINGS, such as:
"This sounds really hard for you".
"I can tell you're really upset. Tell me more?"
Which leads to an interest to UNDERSTAND, like:
"What's going through your mind? Tell me what you're afraid of."
Where if unsure:
"How can I be there for you in this time? Let me know please, I want you to know you're not alone"
(We call this a "not-knowing" stance. Focused on undersranding more)
And then comes REASSURANCE and VALIDATION, speaking:
"No matter what, I'm going to be here for you".
"I see and believe you're trying your best already. Let's figure this out together".
For being there together, as light in someone else's darkness, is the key to them getting the help they need and get better.
But to you out there who needs to support somebody else, remember your boundaries too.
If you don't have the space to be there at that time, it's totally okay to let them know.
You don't have to be there for them ALL THE TIME. That's not sustainable at all.
If we set the boundaries right we not doing it just for them. It's for us too.
Because in order for you to be kind to others, you first need to be kind to yourself.