Not everyone is filled with hope and light in the holiday season; remind yourself of this, and be mindful of the ways you can support and share love with those who are hurting.
1. I am here.
Sometimes the holidays can be overwhelming, painful, or just packed with dizzying emotions. Instead of trying to understand a loved one’s pain, or asking them to talk through it (when they may or may not be ready), simply say, I am here. It’s a simple, powerful reminder that no matter how they’re feeling, you care.
2. You can always talk to me.
It can be incredibly painful to watch someone who means something to you struggle with inner emotions. You will want, so desperately, to talk, to get them to open, to try to take their pain away, but they might not let you. (And by the way, this doesn’t mean that you’re not a good person/friend /family member/etc. it just means they aren’t emotionally ready.) You can do all that’s in your power to get them to turn to you, but ultimately the choice to open is theirs. So instead of (unintentionally) adding more pressure or anxiety to their hearts, just tell them that they can talk to you when they’re ready. Leave the door open and let them decide if they want to step forward.
3. You are loved / I love you.
You can honestly never say this enough. Remind this person that they are loved. If you’re able to, remind them of your love, too. But if you’re not at that stage, or if that feels uncomfortable, simply remind them that so many people value them and are thankful for them.
4. You matter to me.
When people are struggling emotionally, often it feels as if their problems are ‘silly,’ or that they’re ‘unworthy’ of feeling them. Remind your loved one that what they are going through matters and is important. Tell them that they matter, thus validating not only their emotions, but their existence, most of all.
5. You are brave.
Honestly, getting out of bed takes strength. Facing another day takes strength. Putting a smile on your face, or even showing up during a painful holiday season takes major strength. Remind your loved one of this. Encourage them in their resilience and fight. Show them that even if they feel weak on the inside, they are so incredibly brave for moving forward in their healing.