If you have someone you care about who is going through a difficult time and you don’t know how to get through to them, here’s how: Be present with them and spend time with them. Don’t spend brain power solving their issues. Don’t spend energy telling them what they should do without them asking you for that. Don’t take the initiative, the free will, the power to control their own life away from them.
What someone needs when they’re in an emotionally charged state is for someone else to absorb that emotional energy through active listening.
A friend recently showed me a South Park Episode about suicide (Season 21 Episode 2: Put It Down
) and in it, near the end of the show, there’s two scenes that are really educational on how to help a friend.
A good friend doesn’t judge, doesn’t criticize, doesn’t problem solve. A good friend just sits with the person and listens and feels the emotions that the other person is feeling so that the person doesn’t feel alone and scared anymore because there’s someone else together with that person. Sit in the emotions with the other person, ask them “how do you feel.” “How else do you feel?” “Wow, that sounds scary, how do you cope?” “That sounds hard, I can understand why you’re feeling this way.” Let them express to you all that they are feeling, and listen. Sit and listen. Feel bad with them. Keep feeling bad with them until they have said all they want to say about the topic (it may take a very long time) but only after they have been allowed to discharge all of their emotions will they be able to calm down, relax, and think clearly again.
The order of health priority in all situations is:
Emotional -> Mental/Logic -> Beliefs/Spiritual/Psychological -> THEN Physical Health -> Society (Finances/Career/Relationships).
First help your loved one with their emotions.
Then you can discuss the logical solutions and actions you can take to problem solve.
Then ensure that they can accept the logic you discussed, and have alignment between their Beliefs and the Logic. If they don’t, they may revert back to an Emotional state.
Only after all 3 Healths (Emotional, Mental, Beliefs) are healed can you then focus on Physical Health or Society Health. This is why when you say “Go get some sleep” or “Go exercise” or “Take better care of yourself” to someone who is emotionally uncomfortable, they get mad at you. It’s because those statements do not help until you have discharged them emotionally for your loved one. .