This recent, absolutely tragic news of suicide of the bollywood actor, Sushant Singh Rajput, has taken me back to 2 years ago when I would spend all day in bed. I was deathly scared of life an living and all I wanted was to die. And I know that so many people in the world right now are going through the same and they have no safe space.
A lot of people are suffering in silence daily. They are afraid to rely on someone and share their sorrows because, let’s face it, we can be pretty mean to people. Or we may unintentionally appear mean or rude. It’s in our hands to make this world a better place for others. We have the capability to become safe spaces. To become a home somebody so that they can share their worries and sorrows with us.
So I’m writing this blog today to share 6 steps to become a safe space to others.
1. Just listen
When somebody makes the bravest decision to come to you and talk about their issues, be nice. Put your phone down and listen to them. You don’t have to say anything cliche. The best thing you can do for them is listen and be their shoulder to cry on.
2. Don’t say cliche things
Don’t tell them that it will be okay in the future. It’s something that’s hurting them right this point and they need support from you. When you’re sad you really don’t see a future and something telling you ‘it’ll be okay’ doesn’t make much sense. And absolutely don’t say things like ‘be positive’ or ‘stop thinking negatively’. They need to know what they’re feeling is valid! It makes a huge difference. So here’s what you should say instead.
3. Wish them well
If you think it’s a good idea to say something, just wish them well. Tell them you support them and you’re with them. Tell them you’ll pray for them and you really hope things work out. Give them validation for their feelings.
4. Don’t be afraid of physical affection
And when they begin to cry (or maybe they’ve been crying on the inside already) don’t be afraid to each out and give them a hug or kiss. If that’s too much for you, a pat on the shoulder or holding their hand works too. When somebody is so vulnerable in front you, you owe it to them to step out of your comfort zone and be nice to them.
5. Those 5 words
Don’t shy away from saying ‘You can open up to me’. It makes a world of difference to somebody knowing they have someone to listen to them. Even if they won’t take your offer, it will still make them feel a lot better. If they do take your offer, go back to step 1.
6. Your online presence matters
Lastly, appear nice online. If you post more nice things, more people you know are likely to approach you when they feel down. You’ll come off as a person who sees things differently and accepts people. They will feel safe (and that’s our agenda). And by posting nice things being appreciative. For e.g. re-sharing news articles of amazing stories, sharing about yourself, etc. Instead of posting non-stop about a certain political party and trying to bring someone down.
I hope this post helped you somehow and you can be safe space to people around you. This are baby steps we can take to make things better for our friends and family who are depressed. Feel free to share your thoughts on the comments below.
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