To help someone is in emotional pain, you need to assess the severity of their emotional pain. There is a difference between someone who is emotionally healthy and someone who is in emotional pain.
- If someone is emotionally healthy but sad, you can cheer them up using normal methods like bringing them happiness or taking them to do fun things.
- If someone is in emotional pain, you need to listen to their story in full detail to help them heal by helping them feel like they aren’t alone, they are understood, their feelings are acknowledged, and they are supported and cared for. When you listen, you need to not judge, not criticize, not give advice, and not try to change their perspective on things. You have to acknowledge that this is their story, their version, and listen to what they are saying. Avoid the trap of trying to disagree with their statements to help them feel better. All that will do is make them feel like you are attacking them. Instead, wait until after they have told you their whole story. Typically shortly after they tell you the whole story and you make them feel heard, they will then be willing to listen to what you have to say. And you can give your advice and perspective then. Not before. If you want to help them, you will not give your thoughts before they have finished telling you theirs.