“Hey how are you?” It’s a question most of us get asked daily and almost immediately the reflex answer is, “Yeah, good and you?”
The same spiel of niceties that you’re both hoping will end soon, so you can get back to thinking about what you’re actually stressing or worried about that day.
Because who wants to unload everything wrong that happened in the past hour/day/year to some unknowing smiling stranger, colleague, friend or even family member.
Then on the flip-side you have think, as Christians especially, do we really want to know how that persons day is going?
Humans are funny beings and as much as we crave peace with solace, the underlying need is the ability to connect with each other and it really makes a difference to our mental space and yes, our soul.
So this R U OK Day take the time to show support to the people around you and the ones that you might have overlooked. This also means, that if you’re struggling yourself allow that chance to talk about it. This can be the first step in healing because we’re all struggling with something in our lives and one conversation could save someone’s life or your own.
Here’s how you can start the conversation:
- Breaking the ice
Not everyone wants to divulge straightaway on what is hurting them deeply and it is important to respect that. It takes patience and making the person feel comfortable while letting them know that you have noticed some changes in their behaviour and want to know how they are really going.
“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,” – Ephesians 4:2
- Listen don’t judge
It’s easy to jump in to offer quick solutions when someone is explaining an issue they have. Instead try to create a space where the person can fully lay out their concern or trouble. This way we can begin to truly understand how and what is affecting this person.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,” – James 1:19
- Encourage action
Here you can ask the person to consider future steps and how you can also help take these steps with them. This might mean pointing this person to accessing professional support.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2
- Follow up
The conversation doesn’t stop here, make sure to check up on your mate. They might need to talk to someone more, or vice-versa.
You would of heard the phrase ‘with love and grace’, sometimes thrown around too lightly, but when it is used with every word and action it really is powerful.
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8
You might be interested in reading: Is God good for my mental health?
If you are thinking about self-harm or experiencing a personal crisis help is available. Contact Lifeline by Calling 13 11 14 or if it is an emergency call 000.