"It's going to be okay."
"You're going to get through this."
"Things will get better, you'll see."
What are the best words to tell someone when they're going through a difficult time in their lives? I know personally, I've had many of these same sentences said to me through what was a very long, painful, nearly soul-crushing period of my life. Dear friends, family all trying to help me stay positive, see the other side to hope and rooting for me all along the way. It's in our nature to want to fix things, to make it so that the ones we love don't have to hurt or go through hard times. But as I've always thought, what is transformation or growth with a free pass on emotion and the grit of things like heartache, despair, melancholy and longing?
I recently started working at a hospital and I get to visit patient rooms and be a small blip in their stay. Inside their pale and non-descript rooms, I am but a quick and painless interruption to whatever worries and concerns are more prevalent for them on any given day. So I thought about what I could say if I had the opportunity to engage with any one of them. Not knowing what brought them there or how long they were staying, or if they had family who came to see them or if they were completely alone save the visits from the doctor and nurses.
Most people just want to be reassured that everything will be okay and that they are in control of what happens to them. The latter half can get a little muddy sometimes, but in general, I think back to some of my worst days and how I was comforted most. One friend held me while I cried and just listened to me. Another friend reminded me of all the good qualities I possessed. Yet another reminded me in her soothing tone how strong I was. So I got to thinking that maybe for most people the most important thing you can say is something like, "You are strong enough for today." It can be as simple as reminding them of their own power and that they still have it and there is no past, nor no future that is more important than the hours and minutes of the one day that is today. It can mean the difference between feeling defeated and hopeless to feeling hopeful and at peace with our capacity for the moment. I like to imagine the gap between our pulses of heart beat, the dips where there is opportunity for either something to change and go wrong or something to continue and stay the same. If we fill that space with hope, with love, with the energy that brings us joy, those little gaps form a collective of positivity. These are the reserves we need in times when we struggle. How do we fill our own spaces, refuel our tanks? How can we let our loved one help us with this? What healing messages do we give to ourselves? Take a minute today and think about that.