At some point, you’ll need these words of encouragement for a friend. When that time comes, I hope you find the courage to let them feel whatever they’re feeling without needing to fix it for them.
“Sometimes someone isn’t ready to see the bright side. Sometimes they need to sit with the shadow first. So be a friend and sit with them. Make the darkness beautiful.” — Victoria Erickson
When you need to be a light for someone else, it might not be what you do, but what you don’t do, and it might not be what you say, but what you don’t say that makes all the difference.
It’s not even the words of encouragement that matter most, but how available you make yourself to their experience.
As you’re reading through these sample words, remember to be there in every word. Be present with them and hold the space for them to show up for whatever’s showing up for them.
You've got to feel all your ugly feelings, and you have to let others feel theirs, too.
Sample Words of Encouragement for a Friend in Need
One thing I’m sure of is that none of us are defined by the things that don’t go our way. I think we’re defined by what we do with those experiences, by how we let ourselves feel our way through what’s going on.
It really, really is okay to not feel okay. Your feelings are honest reflections of what wants to be healed and heard. It takes courage to see them, hear them, sit with them. It takes courage to show up for what’s showing up for you. I have a feeling that if you can be with the not okay feelings, you can trace them to other parts of yourself that don’t want to be covered up. That might be the only way to heal for real.
Some things just won’t be the same as they were before, and that’s natural. I wish I had all the answers, but so much of life is a mystery. Most of it is, I think. Some things just need to unravel in their own way, in their own time, for their own reasons. It’s okay not to know what those reasons are yet.
“Don't be the reason someone feels insecure. Be the reason someone feels seen, heard, and supported by the whole universe.” — Cleo Wade
I might not have the perfect words for you, but I have so much love for you. I can promise you this: that I’m here with you. And I can give you this much: the grace to be yourself and feel what you’re feeling.
I can’t fix this for you, but I can listen. I’ll hear you. I’ll see you. I’ll hold the space for you to be you. And I’ll care.
You are not alone, because you have my hand to hold while you’re going through this. You have my heart to feel your fears and fortify your faith. You have my eyes to see your anxieties and dream of possibilities. You have me as a friend in this mess.
There are times when a thousand empty words can't match the power of our silent presence.
“Just because you are soft doesn’t mean you are not a force. Honey and wildfire are both the color gold.” — Victoria Erickson, Edge of Wonder
If your friend brings up difficult topics or situations, like making it through the day, try asking some questions to help them open up. So that they don’t feel so isolated in their suffering. So that they feel free to express their deeper feelings. Adjust accordingly, be gentle, and trust your intuition here:
- What’s the scariest part about facing the day/situation?
- What fear/hope do you struggle with the most?
- Where do you feel most vulnerable/broken/uncomfortable?
- If the painful part had a voice of its own, what would it say? Can you speak from that place?
- What’s one thing you can do right now, right here, to take care of yourself?
- What could you use more help with? If there was an endless supply of help available to you, what kind of support would you accept?
“Lives fall apart when they need to be rebuilt.” — Iyanla Vanzant
Which of these words can you share with a friend who’s struggling?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I'd love to know!
P.S. If you’re still looking for the perfect thing to say or do for someone who’s struggling right now, gift them a copy of my book, Sleep Affirmations: 100 Phrases for a Deep and Peaceful Sleep. It’s more than a book about sleep. It’s healing and hope you can hold in your hands.