“A best friend is the only one that walks into your life when the world has walked out.”
During the last year, as I navigated through my grief, I was humbled by the friends that showed up during some of my darkest moments. A simple text, a call or a letter would often give me a momentary break from my struggle. And it wasn’t the friends I expected. Some of my now closest friends were mere acquaintances who weren’t afraid to sit with me, allow me to share, and were present.
But the thing that surprised me most, was that even some of my closest friends didn’t know what to say to me….
There are times when we don’t have the words. We see a friend suffering, either from loss or overwhelm and we go blank. Words can have a profoundly bad result when we lean on platitudes like “everything happens for a reason” or “just try to be positive”.
We’ve all met an individual who seems unaware of how their words affect others. I have heard every platitude in the book during my times of loss. Although those friends were well meaning, it leaves a sting that never fully goes away. Showing up for your friends, and saying words filled with compassion, love and support is one of the kindest things you can do. The truth is, there are a few simple words that can help you, your friend or loved one heal tremendously.
These terms have the potential to make others feel heard, supported and seen. Difficult moments such as when your loved one is experiencing grief or heartache are the perfect time to be present for your friends. To show them that you are willing to show up. The phrases below go a long way toward tending to a friendship that requires compassion.
Keep these words in mind:
- I’m listening. Sometimes, when someone important to you is trying to share their pain, you might have the instinct to keep busy.
- If you can switch your attention from what you’re doing to your loved one momentarily, they’ll feel like they really matter to you.
- Be PRESENT. Give them your time without distraction.
- I appreciate you. According to the Wordbook Dictionary, to appreciate someone is to value, admire, honor, or take notice of them. It is a powerful statement and one that I try to say often to my friends.
- Wouldn’t it feel great if someone you love or respect told you they appreciated you? When you tell others you appreciate them, they see that you’ve noticed them. Tell them you appreciate their strength. Tell them you appreciate their friendship.
- To begin healing a less-than-satisfactory relationship, add this simple sentence, “I appreciate you” to your vocabulary and use it often.
- I forgive you. If your friend is not able to give you the support you need, you must let it go and forgive. I know this sounds easier said than done. Getting to the point of forgiving someone can take a lot of time and soul-searching.
- However, when you truly accept and forgive, you are freed from the weight of your hurt, resentment, and anger.
- It’s a humbling, yet positive experience to forgive others for something they did that upset you.
- You have the power to mend an important relationship by using three simple words: I forgive you.
- I’m sorry. One of the most healing things you can do for another person and yourself is to say, “I’m sorry.” Compassion and vulnerability creates a strong bond that shows them you have empathy for their situation.
- I know you can do it. Directly expressing your confidence in someone can buoy spirits and give them the confidence to keep moving forward. When you hear that someone else believes you can achieve something, don’t you begin to believe more in yourself too? So do others.
- I love you. When you cherish your close relationships, you’ll want to use caring and supportive words often. Saying, “I love you” is just about the most emotionally supportive and caring words you can say.
- When a loved one is having a tough day or just for no reason at all, these spoken words can bring warmth, joy, and solace. When you say, “I love you,” it’s a simple expression that transmits so much. Don’t be afraid to say it often!
Using the language of mending feelings each day can be one of the most soothing and supportive habits you can develop. We all are so bogged down with social media, and emoji’s that we can sometimes forget that a simple “I love you” can heal so much.
Speaking words like, “I’m listening,” “I’m sorry,” and “I forgive you” heals.
Saying, “I appreciate what you do,” “I know you can do it,” and “I love you” can turn someone’s struggles around.
Share your love and joy for life by using language that mends and uplifts the souls of those you care about. I promise you that you will see the shift in the way you connect with your friends and loved ones.