Dear Coach Paradise,
I am worried about my friend. His wife died suddenly about four or five years ago. It took a long time for the shock and grief to lessen and for my friend to begin to move forward. He has not been able to clean out his wife's closet and deal with her belongings, and confides that he is feeling kind of blue much of the time. I think that he could use some help. I have offered to help him clean up and sort belongings, and have mentioned that counseling might be a good thing. My offers of help are rejected or politely ignored. What can I do?
A concerned friend
How lucky your friend is to have someone like you. I know that your concern alone is healing. While there may be average lengths of time for the various stages of grieving, letting go and moving on, everyone is different. Counseling helps many people, while others choose to work things out with friends or on their own. Depression often responds to therapy and medication. Letting your friend know you are willing to help and support him in whatever way he needs is about all you can really do.
We all get to create our own realities, but not someone else's. We can, however, be an influence and an inspiration to others. By focusing on what makes us feel good we lift up those around us, including people like your friend.
To remind us of how we can help our friends, I'd like to share a daily quote that showed up in my email from the Abraham-Hicks website: "We cannot focus upon the weaknesses of one another and evoke strengths. You cannot focus upon the things that you think they are doing wrong and evoke things that will make you feel better …. What you want is to be a strong signal of influence that will help them to reconnect with who they are."
Focus on how well your friend has adjusted — how far he has come. Focus on how he has ventured out and done new things. Look for evidence that he is moving forward and acknowledge him for it. See him in your mind's eye as happy and healed. Hold the space for him to be as he truly is and, in the process, lift him up and inspire him without doing a thing or saying a word.
This is a transferable process. It can be used in any situation where we want to influence those around us and know the power of positive seeing. Collecting evidence for growth and progress and joy, we invite more of the same into the lives of those we care about — and into our own.
To holding the space for one another,
Editor's note: Coach Paradise (AKA Anne Nayer), Professional Life Coach, is a member of the International Coaching Federation, an MSW clinical social worker-psychotherapist and a medical case manager with 30 years experience working with people of all shapes, sizes and challenges. For further information about her services, call 774-4355, visit her website or email her.
Coach Paradise: Focus on Ways Your Friend has Moved Beyond Grief, Depression
Dear Coach Paradise,
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