Everyone goes through tough times. Recently, our team have been working on improving how we provide support because while we may never understand someone else’s hardship, we can offer comfort. An expert in providing support, Serena West from MBS Insurance is motivated to help people through some of their toughest times. For close to two decades, she has assisted families to protect the lifestyle they know and cherish. We asked her to shed light on how we can best support someone through grief.
It can be tough to know how to show true compassion to someone going through hardship. According to Serena, the courage to start a conversation is one of the most important skills we can have.
“Many people avoid a person or situation when times get tough. They may fear saying the wrong thing, feel worried about how the person affected will respond, or simply find it too upsetting. Try to be respectful of their space and straddle this with knowing they may be too shattered to ask for help. Sometimes you may get the timing wrong and reach out when they want to be left alone. Don’t punish yourself for it. I always reach out in small gentle ways and wait. If the person doesn’t respond, leave them be. You can try again in a week and let them know the offer remains”.
Keep an open mind
Everyone experiences grief differently. We can never truly understand what someone is going through. Serena states that providing impactful support is complex. It can be helpful to have an open mind as to how the affected person may need your assistance.
“When supporting someone through grief, you need to try and hold your emotions to yourself. If a person is grieving, you don’t want them to worry about you too. At the same time, you also don’t want them to think you’re a robot and don’t care. You need to be strong. They need you to know how to help them. They won’t say it or even know it, but they will need you to be flexible. They also need you to be soft and caring”.
Practice subtle changes
Serena conveys how subtle shifts in our language can make a significant difference in steering the course of our conversations.
“When you reach out, try keeping things in the moment by asking questions like ‘how are you today?’, instead of ‘how was your weekend’. You want them to focus on the moment. Often if they’re up to talking to you, they’re having a slightly stronger day. Texting them before you call to ask if they’re up to speaking is also a small step you can take”.
The financial advice industry relies on building trusted relationships. This is seldom more important than when our clients are going through a tough time. Regardless of how you show support, knowing how to assist someone you care about through a crisis is an invaluable skill. We hope you have found value in Serena’s advice when it comes to supporting those who mean the most to you.