When someone is sad, depressed, feeling anxious or insecure about themselves and in pain, what can you do to help them?

Often it seems that when you try and say something encouraging to someone who is really down, it has no effect. You could become the target of misdirected anger or disappoint. Maybe they feel shame or embarrassment and shut down or turn away from you – change the subject.

It is difficult for some people to accept or hear positive things about themselves because they don’t believe in themselves to begin with. What we know to be true in our mind we sometimes cannot embrace with our hearts.

At difficult times like these it is important to stay positive and encouraging, and to perservere. This eventually lets the person know that you are not just trying to flatter them, but genuinely care about how they feel. When you really care, your heart will be felt in the weight and tone of your words.

Positive, encouraging feedback from others: family, friends, a community, is necessary for us all to feel whole. It helps us realize that we are human like everyone else, that other people are hurting too, and that we can take strength from them.

What part do you play in the lifting up of others? Have you said something nice to your kids today? Have you offered them words of encouragement; told them you were proud of them? Have you tried to reach out to someone who needs help?

If this is hard for you to do – the spiritual uplifting of others – then look inward and think about what might be blocking your feelings of love and support. Perhaps you have hurts you still carry within you, that prevent your heart from unfolding.

When you give positive words and emotions to others you are like a gardener or farmer planting seeds. If you have ever gardened or farmed, you know that planting and tilling and sewing seeds is hard work. They may not grow right away, or as fast, or in the way that you would have liked, or they may not grow at all.

But if you nourish them steadily, reinforcing feelings with words and words with feelings – and good deeds – usually they will grow and blossom into something greater, something beautiful. Whey you speak kindly and encouragingly to others you are planting seeds that one day can make a big difference in a person’s life, when they finally take root and blossom.

So we are social animals and get our identity from the feedback of people and culture around us. We all have this power to uplift others, which in turn will help uplift ourselves. We must also be aware of our ability to hurt others through careless words and selfish disregard. We each have a responsibility to uplift each other.

When you hurt others you injure your own heart, and you can no longer walk without a shadow over you, in the light of integrity. You will no longer feel whole within yourself.  When you hurt others your soul dies a little too. There is no greater feeling, or task, than empowering another through love and support. But the work comes before the reward; as ye shall sew, so shall ye reap.

If you think that your life does not touch others, that they are not your business, you will find yourself cut off from those around you, from the society around you. And even if you form your own little society, it too will be alienated from society at large.  There is a communal soul we all must share and take part in.

When you try to encourage others, don’t try and force a solution onto their life, or set a timetable for them to heal. Some people get over a relationship in 2 weeks; some take 2 years. Practice patience. Be like an old Oak Tree by their side. Listen to them closely enough and they will tell you what they need to heal. Then help them to get it.

Have faith that you can be a positive influence in a person’s life. Believing something makes it much easier to do. When you see some of the fruits of your efforts and find some success, you share in the bounty. You begin to have more faith in yourself.