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Have you ever bumped into a familiar face while out and about and intuitively felt that something was just a little off?
Or maybe you know someone battling a challenging situation and want to offer support, but you’re just not sure where to start.
Many of us can be quick to offer our ears, encouragement, or maybe even a hot, homemade meal.
But what about those people who are struggling in silence? We may not even know that someone needs our support.
I know for myself, I’ve mastered the “I have it all together look” quite well over the years. Holding our emotions in and our shields up can feel all too normal, especially when we feel the pressure to be strong all the time.
We also can downplay our issues. We can compare ourselves to others and minimize our own experiences, so we don’t come off as too negative, needy, or dramatic. The thing is, if you’re carrying on like this, most likely, other people are too.
As the tumultuous state of the world grows and brings more fear, anxiety, hopelessness, and grief to our doorsteps, so does the need for more understanding, comfort, and support.
The actions we take now will indeed make a significant impact on our future. How we choose to respond to just one person in need can greatly affect the mental and emotional state of the collective.
When we decide to reach out and offer ourselves, we are also deciding to share the most vulnerable and amazing parts of us—our hearts.
To comfort someone is to give solace or to soothe. To give comfort is to shore up the mood or physical state of someone else.
Here are some simple ways we can offer comfort:
1. Check in.
“Sometimes we need someone to simply be there—not to fix anything or do anything in particular, but just let us feel we are supported and cared about.” ~ Unknown
As a school counselor for over a decade, check-ins have become a normal part of my day. If I was aware that a student was experiencing a difficult situation, a connection was always made to check-in and offer support. The same idea can be applied to really anyone, struggling or not. Checking in regularly provides comfort to others in knowing that they are never alone or without support if they need it.
You can check in with a text or phone call, and simply say, “Hey, just thinking about you and wanted to see how you’re doing.” Or just letting the other person know that they’re in your thoughts goes a long way. I can’t count the times where I was having a rough go and a similar text would pop up and lighten my whole day.
That other person may not want to talk at all, but it sends the message that someone cares.
2. Express gratitude.
Sometimes the most heartfelt texts are the ones I receive on Thanksgiving Day. When someone expresses that they are thankful to have me in their life, it’s also a reminder that I’m not alone.
The thing is, we don’t always have to send these heartfelt texts over the holidays. Texting a friend or loved one, “I miss you and am thankful for our friendship” goes a long way. Or, just saying, “You’re the best” or “You’re appreciated” sends the message that you care.
3. Send love.
Get in the habit of sending love out. Give more hugs and don’t be afraid to say, “I love you” when you mean it. Send love out during your daily meditation practice. Send out love during nighttime prayers with your children. Send it out whenever there is a need for it.
Sending love also includes telling someone what makes them special—sharing in all the ways you value and appreciate them and what they bring to your life. It can be as simple as after meeting up, texting a follow-up message to say how much you enjoyed spending time with them.
Sometimes it’s the simplest gestures that can lighten our days just enough to move us a little more forward. The more we provide comfort to others, the more healing takes place for everyone.
In what ways have others provided comfort for you? What small gestures went a long way? I’d love for you to share your thoughts.