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3 Steps To Help A Loved One

I remember the painful feeling of sitting with a family member day after day as they talked about ending their existence. I desperately wanted to help and sometimes I did. Other times, I wanted to, and tried, but was not able to. Watching a loved one struggle and not knowing how to help is a torture that I wish on no one, it’s the flip side of the coin of human suffering, that sadly, many of us experience. I was inspired to write this from my extensive experience spent with mentally unhealthy individuals, and the countless books and classes I have taken to better serve those in need.

You are here its because you are in love, in love with a person that may be in pain. You are in love with the idea that you have the ability to assist this person in some way, maybe by lessoning their pain, helping them feel human or alive again, or just getting them thru this next allotted period of time without hurting themselves. What does it mean to be “in Love” in this context? To me, it means that you exist within the state of love; that your decisions, actions, and choices all come from within this place of love. Love being the connectedness to this other being. This means empathizing, and feeling for this person, and wanting the best for them just as you naturally want the best for yourself.


If you are naturally coming from this place than there will be a connection from the start that can help you. But what if you want to help this person and there has been strife or discord between the two of you. Either you or they have charged emotions about the relationship, but you still genuinely want to assist them. This is a very difficult place to be because you want what’s best, but the emotional charge can impact how you connect in the present moment. We all crave belonging, purpose, and significance. And if these needs are not being met in a healthy way, than we will find a way to meet them in any way that works, even if its harmful to ourselves.

1.) To sincerely help a loved one thru something difficult the first step is to empathize. You can do this by using a NLP technique called second perceptual position. It literally means putting yourself in the “shoes of the other person.” 1st perceptual position is looking out from your eyes, 2nd is looking thru the eyes of another. Spend some time seeing what they see, hearing what they hear, feeling what they feel in a given situation. Really close your eyes and go thru this practice and you may be surprised at the insights gained during this exercise. I had a very challenging and difficult relationship with a family member I respected and loved very much, but toward the end of his life we clashed, I wanted to help him but never really knew how. After he left this world, I went thru this exercise and it literally “shocked” my body and mind. To see myself thru his eyes, his feelings. I only wish I would have learned this earlier so that I could have better understood his position.


2.) Stop trying to fix the other person, they are not broken, and already have everything they need to heal themselves. Your goal should not be to show them what to do, but instead guide them to their own answers. Do this by acknowledging where there is pain and asking questions. Attempt to just focus on listening and getting clarity. Often times just by asking them questions that they may not be asking themselves you can offer them a complete paradigm shift. Questions are extremely powerful. If they make an assumptive phrase like “everyone thinks I am ……” ask them how they know that “everyone thinks you are….” Or if they say something like “my life is absolutely terrible” ask “How specifically is it terrible?”


3.) See yourself in them. I am sure that if you spent some time thinking about it, you have struggled with something similar in your life. This is not an exercise to commiserate or sympathize with them but to genuinely see that the same spark of our creator that lies within you, lies within them. And that while they are walking a path that is painful, it is not your job to carry the burden for them, but to only be a loving companion to offer encouragement, support and understanding. This is often forgotten, as a person drowning will instinctively pull their helper under the water with them. This means having respectful boundaries that are there to assist both you and the other person. They must finish the path of pain they are on in order to never revisit it again, and helping them too much, too early could severely impact the growth they would have found if they did it on there own. Think of trying to help a butterfly out of its cocoon. If the butterfly doesn’t break the cocoon on its own, it will never fly. Their challenge is as an opportunity for them to become stronger. Perhaps one day they will be helping you thru something similar.


Helping a friend or family member can mean the difference between life and death sometimes. I sincerely hope that it is not that situation for you now, but anger is temporary, and some bad decisions can last a lifetime. If you cannot be the one to help a loved one, and you know it is serious, reach out to anyone that you can. Maybe find someone that could help you brainstorm ways to create a space for the person in need. The single most important skill to develop if you want to help a person is listening without needing to speak. Listen and love, ask questions, hold boundaries, and see the divine soul aspect in them. All I can share from personal experience is anger is fleeting, and your ego can and should take a backseat for a person that needs your love. I wish you peace and a calm assuredness to assist those who need you.