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When Someone You Love Is Having a Tough Time, Remind Them of These 20 Things

When Someone You Love Is Having a Tough Time, Remind Them of These 20 Things

If someone you love is having a tough time right now, there are some things that you can remind them of which will help them trough their difficulties. Whatever you say to someone who is struggling, the most important thing is to ensure your tone of voice and demeanor is appropriate. Remind your loved one of the following things in a warm, encouraging way, and not in a “pull your socks up” way. Your approach will make all the difference to the response you get.

1. It’s OK Not to Be OK

When people are struggling, they often make themselves feel worse by placing unrealistic expectations on themselves. They beat themselves up for having a problem and feeling unable to cope with it. Remind your loved one that they are no less of a person just because they are facing something challenging right now. You love them and will support them in good times and bad.

2. You’re Not Alone

Identifying with the person who is struggling can help them feel better. They realize, then, that they are not bearing the weight of the world alone. Remind them that others have had this problem, and that they already have found a way through it. Just knowing that they are not alone can help them feel less lonely and more hopeful. Encourage your loved one to join a support group or forum if appropriate.

3. Let Go of Blame

Sometimes when people are struggling, they either want to blame themselves or other people for their circumstances. It’s OK to initially express anger and frustration, but wallowing in feelings of unfairness or blame will make them feel worse and wastes their energy. Help your loved one to see that the way out their difficulties is in looking for solutions and not in assigning blame or hanging onto angry feelings.

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4. Struggles Make You Stronger

Wisdom, strength and resilience can all be built from the foundations of tough times. Help your loved one to see how they’re growing as a person, even if they feel like they’re going through hell. It’s so important not to be glib  or patronizing when you’re saying this ‒ actually tell your loved one the new strengths you see in them.

5. Take a Step Back

People going through tough times often lose perspective, because they feel so mired in the problem itself. Reminding someone to step back from the situation can help them to see things in a fresh light, and will help them find new solutions.

6. Nothing Lasts Forever

The terrible thing about really tough times is that they feel like they will go on forever. But, in reality, nothing lasts forever ‒ not even the most horrible emotions or the direst circumstances. Reminding your loved one of this can help them gain perspective and feel comforted at the same time.

7. Take Things Step By Step

Tough times can often bring complex and confusing feelings, and those who are struggling may feel paralyzed and unable to make decisions. Remind them that they don’t have to solve the whole problem at once. If they just do the next right thing, they will start to make progress.

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8. Look For The Open Door

When life shuts one door, another one will always open. Losing something will always lead to new opportunities, but only if you are open to them. Remind your loved one to stay alert to fresh opportunities and solutions.

9. Just Do Your Best

People who are struggling can put so much pressure on themselves to get things right that they feel even more upset when they don’t meet their own unrealistic expectations. Remind them that as long as they just do their best, that’s all that matters. They are human, after all. Their best is good enough.

10. You’ve Come Through Tough Times Before

If someone you love is having a hard time, it may be difficult for them to see their strengths. Reminding them that they have already survived tough times before can show them that there is an end in sight, and that they have the strength to reach it.

11. You’re Brave

Most people who are struggling refuse to acknowledge how strong and brave they actually are. They may see themselves as weak and scared. Remind them that courage is not the absence of fear. It’s the willingness to go on even when you’re afraid.

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12. There Is Something Good in Each Day

Going through difficulties can lead to a negative mindset. If someone is really going through a desperately hard time, and dealing with something like depression, being all happy-clappy with them won’t work. But do ask them about the good things in their life, what has gone well, and what they have achieved. It will help them to see a glimmer of hope, even in the darkness.

13. Look at What You’re Gaining

Even when someone has a difficult problem, there will always be an upside to it. Whether it’s finding out who their true friends are when they’re struggling, or having the opportunity to develop patience, strength and problem-solving abilities, there will always be a silver lining. Help your loved one to find it.

14. It’s Not Your Fault

Sometimes when people are struggling, they take their problems very personally, almost believing that their difficulties are sent in some way to punish them. If your loved one is doing this, reminding them that it’s not their fault can help them feel relieved.

15. Well Done

Validating someone for their efforts when they’re having a miserable time can make a big difference in their day. If someone is struggling, they may not acknowledge their own hard work. Giving them praise can help them feel rewarded and appreciated..

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16. Focus on Now

Often people make their tough times even tougher by worrying about the future or fretting about the past. They may add to their misery by letting themselves think back to all the times life has treated them badly or that they’ve failed before; or they may fear that their current difficulty will lead to yet more problems. Remind them to focus on now, because that’s the only part of the story they can change at the moment.

17. Nothing Is Ever the End of the World

Very few problems, however big or small, can actually stop you from breathing. You can encourage your loved one by reminding them that everything is survivable and beatable. They will find a way of dealing with this issue, however tough, if only they keep trying.

18. Be Kind To Yourself

When someone is going through a hard time, they may feel so frustrated by their problems that they resort to beating themselves up or not allowing themselves a minute of reprieve from the issue. Remind your loved one that tough times are easier when we’re kind to ourselves. They are allowed “time off” from their problem to have a laugh, treat themselves, and be around good people. Relieving stress can actually help them to come back to the problem refreshed and recharged.

19. People Want to Help

If your loved one is suffering, they may believe that they have to go through it all by themselves. They may not want to burden others with their problems, and won’t want to ask for help. Remind them that most people are amenable to helping; in fact, helping feels good. The reason people have different strengths is precisely so that they can help each other. Encourage your loved one to seek extra help should they need it.

20. I’m There For You

The strength of these words can not be underestimated. Letting your loved one know that you’re there for them, and that you will listen to their feelings, dry their tears, or even just be around, can mean everything to someone going through hell. Just being a non-judgmental, caring presence in your loved one’s life can make a massive difference in how they feel and how they cope.

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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