3 simple tips for supporting others right now #Covid19
As a result of noticing people experience hardship, it is important that we know how to support people who are emotionally struggling. In this post, I will be giving you 3 simple tips for helping someone during this crisis.
Ask open ended questions
“Hope you are well” is not going to cut it in this season if you are trying to find out how someone is really doing. Often our language for checking up on people can be riddled with assumptions. Certain greetings are appropriate depending on the context and cause for conversation however, if we are trying to offer ourself as a safe place for people’s emotions during this time, our language needs to reflect that. Another common one is “I hope you are feeling better now?”. It’s lovely that you are checking up on the person but what if they are not feeling better now? Not everyone would feel comfortable giving no as a response. Depending on their confidence and self esteem, it might even make them question whether there’s any legitimacy in their emotions. They might begin to feel as though they should be “over” their emotions by now and reply with the typical “I’m fine thank you” whilst knowing that they’re not.
Instead of the above, you could ask someone “What emotions have you been feeling this period?” How are you doing emotionally?” or even ” How are you doing really?”. These questions are more open ended and allows the listener to know want them to be authentic. It communicates that you are a safe place and that you do really care.
2. Be ready to listen
Now that you’ve established yourself as a consistent safe place for a person, be ready to listen. This sounds simple but in actual fact it can be quite hard. Here you need to just listen to someone’s raw, unfiltered and sometimes messy thoughts. You need to understand that they might not feel like you and they might not feel like you expected them to but that is how they feel. As you asked for their feelings, you have to be open to their response. They might be extremely angry that they are now on a reduced salary. They might be stressed with trying to work from home whilst caring for their child. Just let them do the majority of the talking. Any interruption or probing at this point should be to simply understand more.
3. Help how and where you can
After you have listened, identify if there’s any way you can help the person. Is there any money you can give? Is there some grocery shopping you can do and drop on their door? Is there a scripture you can provide? Is there a prayer you can pray? Once you’ve found a need you could meet, meet it. This is a very dying to self moment because in a moment of crisis, our flesh wants to self preserve however giving in such a moment is such a beautiful sign of God’s love. It is a witness.
Also identify where you can’t help but another can. We can’t be anyone’s all in all, so whilst you may be unable to help there may be another person/organisation/resource that can. Let the person you are helping know about this resource.
I think it’s beautiful that you are seeking to help someone else in this time. I’m also importantly praying that God’s love, grace, peace and strength will be with you and protect you and your family throughout this period and beyond.