Often times, our busy lives take up so much of our energy that we tend to only focus on our own endeavours. Most of our time is spent looking after our own feelings, activities or worries. It is hard, however, to put aside our own interests and focus instead on the interests of those around us--the ones who love and care for us. To show others care and support is especially important when they are dealing with hardship, and can help strengthen the relationship even during those difficult times. Here are some simple ways to let the ones you love know that you are there for them:

Listen. Listen with the intention to hear what they are saying, not with the intention to respond. By you acknowledging their feelings and understanding their experience, this will help them feel heard and supported. It is often a first instinct to give someone your thoughts or opinions, but just listening to them provides meaningful support. Giving advice might make them feel criticized or compared, which will not be beneficial.

Express concern and support to them. No matter what they are struggling with in their life, knowing that they have someone to confide in is important. Let them know that they are not alone or that they are important to you. Kindness is always free.

Make a small gesture. Often times, actions speak louder than words. If you’re uncomfortable with emotional expression, try getting them a small gift to show them you care about their happiness, and that you’re truly there for them. Whether it’s sending a card, or taking them out to lunch, there are other ways to show your love and support for them.

Self care is also important, as your needs are just as important as others. Setting boundaries, taking time for yourself and supporting your loved ones will all help create balanced and supportive relationships!