“When going through a hard time, remove the focus from yourself. Look around and find someone to help.”
During dark times, it’s as easy as breathing to concentrate only on ourselves and our problems. This creates a large blindspot, where you believe that you’re the only one going through a tough time.
But what happens when you stop looking within and start looking around you? When you stop dwelling on self pity, you realize that there is someone going through something just as bad, or worse. This realization leads you to identify your true nature better than anything else. Do you leave behind what you are going through and choose to be there for the hurting friend (selflessness) ? Or do you carry your baggage with you and make your friend deal with your issues first (selfish) ?
Job 2:11 NIV
When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.
The mark of good friendship is being ready to put yourself on the back burner and for the sake of another. Learn to practice this kind of selflessness, just as you would need someone else to do for you.
So, how do you go about offering this much needed comfort?
- Be there. In this technological age, it is easy to abdicate your responsibility to physically be there for a friend and replace it with a text, a WhatsApp message, or worse, just a frowny faced emoji! It’s good to be there to show empathy, to show them you are thinking of them, that they are not alone in this, by just being there for them.
- Put in some effort. Sometimes it may be hard to physically be there, but you can put in some effort to give comfort even from a distance. Call them. Letting them talk it out, or express their feelings. This will help them unload some weight off their shoulders and make them feel better.
- Silence. While you’re showing empathy to someone else who’s hurting, it’s important to know that you din’t have to look for something to say. Silence is better than the generic, “I know how you feel”, or even worse, “I understand what you are going through.” The truth is, you really don’t. Every situation is different, and if you have to say something, let God give you the wisdom to say the right thing.
Being there is not a one time event. Healing is a journey, and being there involves making an effort to constantly remind them that they are not alone.
Be the kind of friend you’d like to have when in a crisis.