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We have all experienced times which have been tough on us emotionally and more often than not have gone in search of someone we feel will be able to ‘be there for us’, but what about when the tables are turned and you are the one which is being chosen to be the comfort giver?

It is at times like these that you will be the one whom needs to be strong so as to be able to give this person or loved one the support they need. The type of situation and the circumstances which has caused this individual to be in a state of despair may differ greatly from one situation to another, but yet there are a couple of universal tips when it comes to knowing how to effectively be able to console someone in a time of despair.
 
Some of these universal tips include:
  • Reassure them – When they first approach you, you should be sure to try and uplift them, most of the time someone approaching you for comfort is not looking for your wisdom right away or what you think they should do, but rather simply try to look after their immediate emotional needs, unless they specifically ask for your advice.

  • Be the listener – By simply being able to be an effective listener and allowing them to ‘let it all pour out’ is probably one of the most important things which you will need to be able to do to comfort someone in despair. However try not to stop them while they are ‘cleansing’ so as to give advice, rather listen and understand their situation without passing your own judgments or advice at this stage.

  • Be a pillar of support – One of the most comforting gestures which you are able to extend to a person who is in despair is that of allowing them to feel and know that your support for them is unconditional and that they are free to speak to you at any time about what they are feeling or the anguish which they are going through and that you will do your very best to stand by them and help them back up.

  • Physical comfort – This part of supporting someone in despair is at your own discretion, if you know the person well enough and feel comfortable doing so, there is nothing more reassuring than a friendly and well meant hug, a hug just has a very reassuring way of making people feel better so long as the intent behind the hug is love and kindness.

  • Empathy – Rather than sympathy, offer this person empathy as this will enable you to do your best to understand the situation they find themselves in and empathize with it rather than simply offering sympathy.

In any situation where there is despair there is another emotion present and that is the emotion of grief. Grief is a perfectly normal emotion to be shown by someone who has experienced a traumatic situation.
 
Grief is one emotion which presents differently from person to person, it normally begins with the individual being in a state of shock and sometimes denial after which pain and anger normally follow and this phase might last for considerable time depending on the individual.
 
Then it is normally the turn of, probably the most destructive of them all, namely depression. But these are all stages of grief which will eventually lead the individual down the road to acceptance. Your role here is not to try to hasten there path through these phases of grief but rather to do what you can to help them along the way.
 
Perhaps one of the best ways to go about this is to actually try to supply them with a different perspective to their despair, but if you are unsure of how to do this then it is sometimes best just to be there for them on their journey to acceptance.
 
Know this is where I need your input, being able to assist someone in their time of despair is truly a wonderful thing but each of us has their own way which they feel is most effective to be able to do this. I would just like to know, what do you feel is the most effective way to be able to be assistance to someone in despair and how well has it worked for you in your experiences?