3 Things to Help A Soul Through Tough Times
How we can help an aching soul when the words vanish into air
“Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.” — Norman B. Rice
There are moments in our life when we find ourselves at crossroads. Our inner voices at those moments become louder and closer and then fade away again.
When little remnants of hope swirl in the chasm of pain, we lose connection with our inner being — with everything around us.
Whether it's the death of a dear one, tangled relationships, failures, life-changing decisions, a disease — the sorrow makes it tough to handle life.
A decision and acceptance take a long time and that’s when we need unconditional support and connection. The help sprouts seedlings of hope and we glimpse rays of light even from behind the clouds.
We often say, “Words have timeless power as they can open someone’s minds and change the way he thinks — they can open someone’s hearts for new beginnings.”
But for my younger self, those words were like a dream that never had any reality.
Whenever someone depended on me — on my words as much as I wanted to help someone, I couldn’t offer any help.
My friend’s 22 years old sister died — the same day she got her bachelor’s degree. The unexpected death shook the anchor of her family.
Oftentimes I visited her, but neither my nonjudgmental ear nor my compassionate words could help her in depressive thoughts.
The pale shadows of my past experiences knocked at my door whenever someone needed support. Shock, grief, and guilt crept into my heart, and my chaotic thoughts victimized me.
Everything comes at a price. For me, this price was self-blaming and guilt.
Marvin Sapp once said,
“My assignment is to take my situation and to use it to help others who feel hopeless and/or helpless because of loss.”
― Marvin Sapp
But for me, the question was, how to use a situation to help others when distress lingers in my own world?
When someone is going through a crisis, suffering is inevitable but there’s always a little light sparking from behind the clouds. As Alana Stewart said,
“No matter what kind of challenges or difficulties or painful situations you go through in your life, we all have something deep within us that we can reach down and find the inner strength to get through them.” — Alana Stewart
Confusion claws its way out while watching someone struggle. It is normal. We cannot fix someone’s problems.
But when the inner voices continue to torture and belittle someone — do we have no responsibility as so-called dear ones?
My inner being kept on asking me, What’s the point of the stage of relationships we set in life when we cannot even offer decent help?
3 Things to Help A Soul Through Tough Times
1. Please remember you weren’t in the same storm
It’s awfully painful to see a dear one struggle for anything because anyone going through a tough time is caught up in an equally hard state of mind and emotions.
The past experiences conjure pictures and it seems we had been there too. But this emotional state makes it harder to claw away the confusion.
But the truth is: We may have relatable emotions and thoughts but we all are unique in our unique stories.
The lump in the throat — chaotic thoughts — weighing feelings are the same, but we all have different thresholds of pain — we all have different thinking patterns — and above all, we all have a unique life.
As Harper Lee wrote in her book,
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
When someone feels empty, only heartfelt words can help him/her rejuvenate. Heartfelt words provide a perpetual stream of support as they sink deeper into the mind. While words we utter when we’re unsure offer little help as per my experience.
When we acknowledge, the uniqueness of grief — when we accept that we weren't in the same storms, it becomes easier to find a balance for ourselves and others.
2. To offer heartfelt compassion practice self-compassion
Compassion creates a tangible connection between two souls but words of compassion remain shallow unless we’re compassionate with ourselves.
We usually put self-compassion on the back burner and rush towards helping the other person. But this behavior is a barrier that makes balance difficult as I narrated above.
Turning away from our emotions and rushing to help the other person offers trivial help. When we do nothing for acknowledging our emotions—they creep out in imperceptible ways — and our words vanish into the air.
Self-compassion breeds cohesive and warm thoughts from confused thoughts. To remove the barriers and offer heartfelt compassion, work on emotions, as it helps in developing strength and courage.
The wisdom — the warmth of compassion reflects in words only when we’re at peace with our thoughts and feelings.
The energy radiating from a compassionate self only can offer and encourage genuine compassion in aching souls — that aligns other person’s thoughts.
If someone you care about is battling with something, reconnect with your inner being to offer heartfelt compassion.
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” — Jack Kornfield
3. Encourage reflection and exploration:
When things are tough, negative emotions paint a negative image of the future But we experience the greatest lessons in those moments.
Whenever my life took a sharp turn, my overthinking nature imprisoned me in doubts and downs. I got caught up in a downward spiral. My brother used to help me in figuring things out — to ease my depressive thoughts.
It helped me in making better decisions, and I am grateful for it but as time went by, it got harder for me to get my mind off worries.
I realized I hadn’t learned much from my tough experiences — because I didn’t focus on self-reflection and exploration.
Now I believe it is important to deal with hurtful feelings in one’s way because,
When someone chooses to heal himself, he opens himself to the suffering but at the same time, he gets ready to embrace new beginnings.
It isn’t easy to suffer but in those moments of loss and pain, we experience the greatest lessons of resilience and patience.
Whether it is grief for an experience or anticipated regret at the decision-making, these negative emotions entail responsibility — that makes life worthwhile. As Hellen Keller said,
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” — Helen Keller
In someone’s battle of the mind, heart, and the world, heartfelt compassionate words ease unpleasant emotions and that’s all we should do.
The constraints we face — the energy we invest in dodging grief or regret makes life worthwhile because we experience these lessons.
If someone you care about is struggling for/about something, help him in finding the light — instead of showing the light; encourage reflection but avoid talking to his inner child. As,
“Some things cannot be taught; they must be experienced. You never learn the most valuable lessons in life until you go through your own journey.” — Roy T. Bennett
Life never goes as planned but it has infinite possibilities even in the darkest days. Self-compassion and well-thought words help a battling person in finding inner guidance. And when we help someone in finding connection with his inner being, the new beginnings gleaming from behind the clouds fill our lives with hope too. Practice self-compassion to help your fellow beings.
Thanks for reading!