Different Ways of Comforting People
Something I feel I've been learning a lot lately is that there are different ways of caring for people, because everybody is different. Everyone needs a different kind of comfort or reassurance to help them through hard times, or lift them up.
I am a type of person who finds comfort in gentle kindness & hope. Just telling me something kind & reassuring in a sweet way is the key to soothing me. I'm pretty simple.
Because this is how I want to be comforted however, doesn't mean that it is so for other people.
My boyfriend for example doesn't like to be told "everything is going to be okay". His reasoning, which actually makes a lot a sense, is that we don't know that everything is going to be okay. It's nice to be optimistic, but the words are fairly empty. We can't tell the future, therefore saying that everything will be okay could be portrayed as somewhat of a lie.
Instead, he likes to be reassured by saying things more along the lines of "this is exactly what's going to happen; A, B, and then C, and then it all should be okay." I guess he likes a more logical, methodical approach. Like when he had his ACL surgery and was feeling nervous for it, I learned that rather than saying "don't worry it'll be fine", it was better to say "Dr. Camazzola has done this surgery countless times, it should be very straightforward, you are young and healthy, and everything should go exactly to plan."
Just changing the words up a bit can be very important.
This revelation is something I can utilize in my doula work!
Rather than assuming every one of my clients is like me and wants the same kind of reassurance that I do, I can ask them. Find out their language.
I want to be able to help them the best way I can, and in order to do that my listening and communicating skills need to be at the top of their game. This is so so important for doula work.
A Few Ways to Comfort People:
These don't all work for every person, and it's important to find out what works for each individual. Some people may enjoy many of these. Everyone is different.
-Reassurance, just plain & simple "everything is going to be alright". I feel like this works very well for children as well, and also for Jesus Christ superstar
-Affirm their feelings. "I understand, you're feeling sad/scared/nervous, that's okay"
-Cheer them up/don't try to cheer them up. These two are total opposites, and usually people will be more about one than the other.
After my dad died, I had felt so much sadness for so long during his sickness, that I was just done with it. When I would hang out with my friends I didn't want to just sit around and have everyone feel sorry for me, I wanted to laugh, I wanted to be cheered up. My friends were amazing at that and I'm so thankful for them.
But not everyone is like this. Some people need to sit in their sadness for a while (which I think is important actually, just not for too long). They need to feel all their feelings and don't want to be distracted from them. Trying to cheer them up will actually do more harm than good in this case.
-Suggest action steps. "This is what we can do, first A, then B, and finally C and then you should feel better." There are some people who need to be methodical, or find a solution, and that is what heals them.
-Talk through it. Just as going to a therapist is helpful for certain people. They need to let their thoughts and feelings out in order to process.
-Just be there. The act of just sitting with someone who's hurting, knowing they're not alone. That is the type of comfort that some people crave.
How do you all like to be comforted? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments section!