How to really help a friend in need.
Do you know someone who is struggling this holiday season? Whether from illness, unemployment, divorce or financial woes—it’s easy for those who care to inadvertently offer support that backfires. Here’s a quick law of attraction style primer about how to best support a friend in need:
Check the ID. How are you seeing this person? If you’re thinking of them as someone who is in trouble or having a rough time, your perception of them in that light actually reinforces that experience. Thoughts are powerful! And your thoughts about them are no exception.
Commit to thinking of them in a positive light—as thriving, or on their way to it if that’s too big a stretch. Marie Wilson (founding president of the White House Project) said “You can’t be what you can’t see.” If they can’t see their successful future themselves, you might be able to help with that.
Don’t fall in. Our desire to be compassionate and present can lead to joining them in their “woe is me, times are tough” stories. Knowing the power of thought, conscious creators sometimes have a knee-jerk reaction to try to talk someone out of their negative version of events. But that resistance doesn’t help, either. Let them have it their way; just don’t join them in it.
You can listen without buying in, just like we do when our imaginative kids tell their made-up stories. We don’t judge, we don’t correct, we’re just present and appreciative.
Give a hand. People who are really struggling have a hard time believing good things are coming. One of the most powerful gifts you can give them is to hold the space—and invite them into it—that better days are ahead.
Reinforce your belief in the person’s ability, strength, and happy ending. It’s powerful even when you do it silently to yourself, but sharing a couple of words along the lines of “You are stronger than you realize” or “You’re handling this well” or “This too shall pass” may serve as their lifeline or foothold into hope. When we don’t believe in ourselves, it’s helpful to be reminded of our resilience by someone else who does.
What not to do when supporting someone in need: sacrifice your own well being. You are not in a position to be of service when coming from your own struggle. Tend to your needs first. Going broke to support an out-of-work son, getting sick while burning the candle at both ends to care for an aging parent, allowing your own primary relationship to suffer while you support a lonely friend—doesn’t serve anyone.
Another not to do is feel guilty for your own fortune while a loved one experiences trouble. Your guilt doesn’t help. Instead, practice your “all is well” thoughts and make peace with how things are for all involved. Peace makes room for positive change.
By all means, honor your desire to help, but offer the kind of help that does. Hold positive thoughts of their thriving, maintain your own alignment by not getting sucked into negative stories, remind them of their power, and take good care of yourself, too.
Jeannette Maw is a Law of Attraction coach and founder of Good Vibe Coaching in Salt Lake City. www.goodvibecoach.com