As the year draws to a close, the excitement of a New Year and new beginnings can be inspiring. But for some, the pain of the previous year feels far too present to simply be erased or forgotten on January 1st. While many people are celebrating a fresh start, for some, there is only a continuance of what was. But here are 13 things to say to encourage someone who’s ending the year with a heavy heart.
1. You are not going through this alone.
This is such a simple, powerful phrase. No matter what your loved one is going through, remind them, first, that there are other people who may be going through the same thing. If you can, help connect them with others who may be suffering, or support groups to encourage them along the way. If nothing else, remind them that you, and other loved ones are there every step of the way. Even if you aren’t feeling exactly what they’re feeling, just telling them you care and are there is invaluable.
2. It’s okay to not feel okay.
Sometimes simply validating a person’s feelings speaks volumes. Oftentimes when we’re overwhelmed with pain or feeling something deeply, knowing that someone else sees our experiences as real pushes us towards healing. When we think we have to continually pretend we’re alright, or put on a good face to not affect the people around us, it actually hinders us from true healing. So remind your loved one that it’s perfectly okay to be hurting.
3. Change begins with you, and you have the power to shift your direction.
Be careful with the way you word this, or present it to someone who’s hurting. This can be dismissive if you aren’t careful, but if you speak this with kindness, it can help push someone to make a change right now instead of waiting for January 1st, and feeling paralyzed by the ‘New Years’ mindset.
4. You won’t always feel this burdened.
Remind your loved one that everything is temporary, and even the most painful things will pass. Don’t write off their pain, or make them feel as if it isn’t real, but don’t let them dwell on it, either. Remind them that every closed door will eventually lead to an open one, and that as hard as what they’re going through is right now, there is still hope.
5. There are people who love you, value you, and are here for you.
When we’re fighting against something painful, sometimes we forget how many people are in our corner. Tell, and show your person how many people are ready and willing to go to battle for them. Remind them they are never, ever in this alone.
6. January 1st is just a date on a calendar; new beginnings are everywhere.
Don’t let your loved one be overwhelmed by the resolutions and hype of a New Year. Tell them, instead, that they can choose to begin whenever feels right, and that they shouldn’t feel pressured to rush their healing.
7. You are worthy of a new start.
Simply remind your person that they are worthy of a new beginning, new start. No matter what’s been happening in the last year, or how they failed, or what they have yet to overcome, they can begin again if they’d like to. And that doesn’t mean the pain is simply gone, but it means they are taking steps to not let it be the center of their lives.
8. I value ____ in you.
Be specific and tell your loved one exactly what you see in them and why you feel inspired by this part of who they are. When you are intentional in your compliments, it will lift your person’s spirits and inspire them to see worth and strength in themselves.
9. There is something good in each day.
Tell your loved one this, but also show them. Show them the beauty of a fresh winter snow, of sunshine, of a hot cup of coffee, of laughter. Even if they can’t see it at first, you taking notice of the little things will help them open their eyes to possibility and hope.
10. You are brave.
This is one of the most powerful things you can say to someone struggling emotionally. Empower them with these words and help them to see their own fortitude.
11. You are strong because ____.
Point out ways that your loved one has been powerful, resilient, or determined. Give them specific moments from their past when they overcame adversity, or got through a difficult time. Sometimes we all just need a reminder.
12. Change begins with one small step.
Remind your person that they don’t have to change their entire lives in one day, and a New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be huge to be successful. Change starts with one small step. Sometimes that’s all you can do, and step by step, you get to where you need to be.
13. I am here for you.
Perhaps the strongest statement you can make—I am here. Show your person that you care, that you value them, and that you aren’t leaving no matter what. Even if they are dreading the New Year, promise to stand by their side, whatever they face.