The power of silence to support your brokenhearted friend in overcoming obstacles.
Why are words so important?
Does it matter what you say when you try to support and encourage others?
Surely any old words will do, or as the famous saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts”.
Understanding the power of words of encouragement
If you are like me, you want to offer a supportive space, a listening ear and words of encouragement for friends and loved ones; you know the power of words to motivate, inspire and encourage others to face their fears as they heal and grow.
You want to be a compassionate listener and hope your thoughtful comments in response to their concerns help boost your friend’s mood and enable them to gain clarity and stay resourced during the tough times.
Finding and using words of encouragement and support
Knowing what to say, knowing what words to use to inspire, uplift and encourage someone low is challenging.
When the time comes to share what’s on your heart, you stumble and mumble your words, and everything comes out wrong, making the situation worse.
Everyone feels like that.
I am sure that if you did a random poll amongst colleagues in your office, half of your colleagues could recall times when they thought they were offering sympathy and support when their words had the opposite impact.
If you struggle with saying the “right thing, “ you can always buy your friend a “thinking of you” card, offer to do some of their domestic chores and cover life admin essentials.
Letting go of the “fix-it” mindset
When life is going badly for your friends and loved ones, sometimes there is nothing we can say or do to shift their energy and change their situation.
Learning to let go of the need to control takes courage and trust.
As humans, we want to help, to “fix” things and make our loved ones feel better.
Nonetheless, when we dictate and force another person to listen and take our advice this often leaves us open to criticism from other well-meaning friends and can alienate the person you are trying to support.
The power of compassionate silence
Sometimes, all we can do is be silent and offer a listening ear.
I recall the times when I was mourning the loss of my cousin and brother, the friends who came and sat with me and allowed me space to cry -without “trying to fix my grief” were the most empathetic and encouraging conversations I had.
Silence, saying nothing, and being present in another’s pain and sorrow is the most powerful encouragement we can offer.
The intentionally held space of peace between the words, tears, and anguish is where the healing and magic occur.
Have you ever held and comforted a troubled or grieving child?
No words are spoken, yet the child can feel your concern through how they are held.
We want to help, to take away the hurt and pain.
There may be thousands of questions racing through your heart, yet you know, at that moment in time, the best thing you can do is to be quiet, ensure the environment is as safe as possible and give the child time to deal with their feelings, and when they feel safe, to share what’s troubling them.
Whatever path you take, whether you have the confidence and ability to offer a word of encouragement or opt for the silent presence, a warm hug and thoughtful acts of kindness, remember you are doing your best and allow space for your self-care so you have the inner strength to support your brokenhearted friend find comfort and healing in their own time.
I originally published this article on Medium where you may read my other inspirational articles.
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