When I read in the news that catastrophes have occurred whether they are tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, or manmade, my heart goes out to the victims. And when family, friends or colleagues post online that a loved one is in the hospital or has passed away, that they've lost their job, or that they are going through a difficult time of any sort, I always want to say or do something supportive.
If you frequent the internet you know that whether you're on Twitter, Facebook, someone's blog or even a news website, there will be times when you may feel compelled to offer comfort to someone in their time of need but you don't always know what to say. Do you offer prayers, love, good thoughts, or positive energy? You get the picture. While there may be one correct response and another equally wrong for the person you're reaching out to support, you won't always know which are the right words to say. It's kind of like the whole "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" conundrum.
If someone is an atheist you may not want to offer a prayer because they don't believe in prayer. On the flip side if someone is religious saying you'll send them positive energy might sound too new age, crystals, and woo woo, and they might feel you have overlooked their faith.
One of the things that may cause your hesitation to say anything online could be the way other people will leave comments taking offense at the way some choose to offer comfort. I know I've felt that way from time to time.
Another problem is we are all individuals so what may feel like support as we give it, can often be perceived as something else. Whether it's perceived as unsolicited advice or judgement, it may simply miss the mark altogether.
Sometimes no matter how much you are only trying to help, saying or doing the wrong thing can damage a friendship. But, in the big scheme of things we might have to come to terms with if we'd rather risk damaging a friendship because we accidentally said or did the wrong thing, rather than doing equal or worse damage by having said or done nothing at all.
When I've ever felt offended or disappointed, I always try to look past the actual words people use and instead listen with my heart. Because my head will think all kinds of judgmental things like "Why would they say that" or "They should know better" or "They don't really understand me" but my heart will say "They are doing their best to show they care about me and my well being." It isn't what I needed them to say, but just the fact that they are trying to somehow help or console me is a gift. That makes any gesture you're willing to share with me appreciated.
So send me prayers, love or positive energy and I will always do the same for you. Hopefully one of the three will be what you needed or were looking for.