The world can be a scary place, especially as of late. From a global pandemic to senseless violence and other tragedies, the weight of the world can often feel heavy. Luckily there are do-gooders like you who help make our world equally as beautiful. Volunteers around the world give their time daily out of the goodness of their hearts. People give their hard earned money to organizations, pledging to make the world a better place.
In times of difficulty, what can you do? Next time you encounter a friend, family member or even a stranger who is having a hard time because of any of the worlds’ events, check out these tips to help them as you navigate these times together.
Lend an Ear
Sometimes it helps to simply listen to what struggles a person may be going through. You don’t have to understand their problems completely and that’s okay. You’re there to learn, listen and be empathetic. Use active listening to repeat back what you’re hearing and clarify for understanding. Let them know they are not alone, and that you’re there if they need a sounding board.
Refer a Professional
While it’s always a great idea to listen to the struggles your friends or family may be going through, it’s also important to know when they might need to speak to a professional. Depending on the nature of the conversation, such as with mental health matters, it may be appropriate to encourage them to seek a professional to help them process whatever they may be going through.
Do Your Research
No matter the circumstances, it’s okay not to know what to say or do. Luckily, we’re living in the information age. Use this as an opportunity to educate yourself on the subject at hand. The internet has a wealth of information and resources are often free and easy to use. Look for reputable sources such as known nonprofit organizations dedicated to the cause or verified academic and professional sites and resources.
Give Actionable Next Steps
Now that you’ve listened, learned and have a better understanding of the situation at hand—what’s next? Discuss how you plan to move forward with making a change, continuing to educate yourself or schedule check ins with the person you’re helping. You can make a commitment to each other to keep moving forward however you both see fit.
When times are hard, it’s important to move forward and do what you can for others. Above all, open yourself up to listen and try to better understand the situation from your friend or loved one’s perspective. Remember that it’s okay if you don’t have all of the answers. Do your research to find verified information and resources so you can take action and be the change you wish to see in the world!