What is the most important thing you can do for your struggling teen? Be there. What is the best thing you can do for your frustrated spouse? Be there. How can you help that friend of yours who is hurting and confused? Be there.
We each need so much for someone to be there for us. To be available in physical presence. To support us emotionally. To challenge us when we need a wake-up call. To listen when we need to talk.
This doesn’t mean you have to be some kind of expert, have all the right answers, or even have a lot to say. Often times, the most important thing we need from someone is for them to just be there. Really being there may mean making good eye contact while listening. It may mean resisting the urge to interrupt or to speak up just to fill an uncomfortable silence. It may mean turning off a cell phone or a TV or whatever to let the other one know how much they really matter. It may mean cancelling an appointment. It may mean giving a hug. It may mean writing a heartfelt email or even a letter with a stamp on it. It may mean putting the other person’s thoughts into your own words to let them know you really hear them as they share their heart with you. It may mean playing a video game you have absolutely no interest in. It may mean calling a babysitter and going out for that date. It may mean being available sexually to your spouse. It may mean asking, “How can I be there for you?” Whatever the details, being there means considering the other person and making yourself and your energy avaiable to them in ways that are good for them.
Remember the last time someone was there for you? It made a difference, didn’t it? Be there!
For further reading on this topic, check out “Be There: Making Deep, Lasting Connections in a Disconnected World” by Dr. John Trent.