How Can We Be There For Those Hurting During The Holidays?, Jessica Tovar, LPC
Most of us know that uncomfortable feeling that overtakes us when we see someone who has experienced a loss and is hurting. It can feel paralyzing. Our heart hurts for them, yet we feel that nothing we could say could ever be adequate. Therefore, we often end up saying nothing. At least this way we think we can avoid making it worse or reminding them of the pain they are drowning in. The truth is, for the one grieving, the silence can feel deafening and isolating. On the other hand, we may try to fix the other persons pain, to make them (and us) feel better. This can be damaging as we unintentionally say something that ends up hurting them.
So what can we do? How can we reach out to others hurting this holiday season?
First, let’s take the pressure off of ourselves. We can’t fix their pain or make them feel better. We don’t need to say much; there’s not much we can say. They just need to know we care. Grieving is a process and is different for everyone. The best thing we can do is to acknowledge they are hurting. Scripture tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn”, (Romans 12:15). There are many practical ways to acknowledge someone’s pain. For starters:
~ Send a note, email, or text to let them know you realize this is a hard time for them and that they are on your mind and in your prayers.
~ If you see them in person, you can say the same thing. In fact, simply acknowledging that you don’t know what to say can relieve a lot of pressure and kicks the elephant right out of the room!
Let’s not let fear keep us from reaching out with the love that is in our hearts. Let’s bring others in when they are hurting by acknowledging their pain and loss instead of unintentionally isolating them. Let’s push past the awkwardness and love well!