Dealing with pain
Friends and family members in your life will experience tough times as this is the nature of our world. Nothing is perfect, so when these hard times do come you have the ability to be a huge encouragement to those who are hurting and experiencing tough times. Throughout this article I would like to point out a number of tools and ways you can encourage and lift up hurting family members and friends that have experienced or are experiencing a troubling moment in their lives.
See where they are
I want to preface this whole article by saying that telling a person "You understand" is a very dangerous road to take. A lot of times we say this as a way to portray sympathy but in reality unless we actually have gone through what they are experiencing you can't possibly understand. I would rather advise you to acknowledge their hard moment and offer ways of encouragement. This is key in reaching a friend or family member that is experiencing a tough time and will really open up their heart and mind to receiving any kind of encouraging words from you. If the walls are up and they are drowning in sorrow, grief, anger, or stress then you have to work on them slowly and in a gentle manner.
Once the person you are helping has taken the defensive walls down and they are open to receiving any words from you, then you are in the position to encourage them and lifCredit: Wikimedia Commonst up their spirits. Tell them things that have gone well in their lives, bring them to a place where they know that times may be tough now but they will get better. One thing that really encourages a lot of hurting people is to know that you are there and available to help them. Give them your phone number and let them know that you are always available to talk to them if they back slide into another emotional ditch and need more encouragement and kind words. Offer to do things with them and help them in their time of need and this will go a long way in their physical and emotional recovery. Sometimes all people need when they are struggling in this world is a hug and an encouraging word, and standing with this person in their tough time will be a make a huge difference in their recovery from their experiences.
Socialize and get out
Depending on the nature of the hard time your loved one or friend is experiencing, it would be a great idea to take them out and socialize more. Very frequently people who are going through tough times isolate themselves and internalize their problems. This is very dangerous as we have seen countless examples of people who keep their problems to themselves and then lash out by hurting others or themselves. Being the encourager you are, I recommend you take them out and get them around other people that are a blessing to them. This means don't take them to a bar or club, as the people here and the potential dangers present (fighting, alcohol, ect) could only prove to make their mental state worse than better. Instead take them bowling or to a funny movie, or go do an outdoor activity with friends like hiking or running. Doing things that take their minds off of their problems and onto something else will cause them to heal, because the worst thing they can do is stay home and internalize all of their issues and experiences which can destroy them.
If you aren't a Christian then you can skip over this part, but I have to mention this here as this is my belief and also my full time job working for a ministry. People who are hurting usually don't know God or know Him but think He isn't there and doesn't care about them. Minister the Word to them in an encouraging way, so they know that the tough times they are going through aren't unique and they aren't alone. Give them some encouraging scriptures that show them that God is able and He does care, and if they will cast their cares over onto Him then they can experience freedom and love that no human being could ever hope to give. God is love and knowing that they aren't alone in their struggles and tough times is a huge encouragement. I know this with all the people I speak to on the phones, one Word from God totally turns their lives around and we see dramatic turnaround in their lives in a matter of moments. Speak the truth and minister the Lord's love to hurting family members and friends and this will go a long way in helping them recover from their breakdown or stressful situation.
I'm here for you if you need me
I touched upon this earlier, but I want to elaborate further. Someone who is going through a hard time needs to know that people care and when nobody steps up and helps them they immediately think they are alone and nobody sympathizes with them. This will cause dangerous problems in the long run if they are alone, so simply telling your family member or friend that you are there for them is huge. Sometimes they may not even need to contact you or need your help, just the thought of they aren't alone is more than enough. They can dwell upon the fact that because they aren't alone they can heal because there is someone out there that cares, so you have the potential to change lives and heal by just your words alone. Should they call you and need you, follow up immediately with their request and reassure them of your commitment to their health and wellbeing. Show them that you want them to recover and get through their hard times and that can change everything.
These are a number of tips I have for you if you should ever find yourself in a position like this. Know that even if you think you don't have anything to offer you can still be an encourager. Show your friend or family member you care and even if you aren't good at knowing their situation or how to sympathize with them. Just being there and showing that you have a heart for them and want them well is sometimes all that's needed for them to make a full recovery and you will be blessed knowing you made a difference no matter how much or how little you invested into that process.