Everyone gets a little down sometimes. Sadness is an inevitable part of life that not one person in this world is immune to.
However, with a bit of help and kindness, sadness becomes treatable. It’s up to each individual to make the world a better place by consoling others regardless of differences.
Why It’s Important to Comfort Others
In a world that often seems unconnected, emotions can close the gaps. Whether we feel them through music, art or pure compassion, emotions are universal and bind us together despite all the ways we diverge.
If you turn your television to today’s news, it’s likely filled with tragic reports, both nationally and globally. We’re constantly exposed to a world that lacks sympathy and understanding, which makes it all the more important to reach out to those in need of comfort, even if it’s just one person.
Most of us feel an urge to respond to sadness, no matter which person we see experiencing it. In fact, it’s uniquely human to look beyond familial ties and recognize the value in shared human emotions. We may even be hard-wired to connect to other people’s sorrow, so the desire to tell even a stranger “it’s okay” is instinctive.
This instinct you have to comfort someone who’s sad or to laugh with someone who’s happy is a sign of emotional intelligence.
This is a tricky concept because it doesn’t look quite the same on any two people. Some are naturally very tuned in to the emotions of those around them, while others have more trouble reading people’s moods and feelings.
No matter where you fall on the emotional intelligence spectrum, though, you’ll almost never be oblivious to a person’s sadness, even if they come from an entirely different culture. Sadness is sadness no matter where you go, and the need to be comforted is always right there alongside it.
So follow your instinct to comfort someone who’s sad, even if there’s a language barrier. Doing so will not only help them to cheer up, but it will also increase your emotional intelligence.
Whether you do it intentionally or not, increasing your emotional intelligence means awesome benefits for everyone. It makes you a better listener and more sincere communicator, increases your own self-awareness, helps you to feel more connected to others and reduces your chances of depression.
How Do You Respond to Someone’s Sadness?
Different cultures and ethnicities respond to each other’s grief in various ways, the same way they greet each other differently, carry conversations, solve conflicts and say goodbye. Giving someone a hug or holding their hand might be socially acceptable for you but not for others.
Little tips and tricks like this – knowing when to hold someone’s hand and when not to, knowing who finds a hug comforting and who finds it awkward – can be largely assumed based upon the culture in which a person is raised. For instance, in American culture, standing or sitting too close to someone is considered uncomfortable, whereas in other cultures, it’s seen as comforting.
Becoming more familiar with such overarching cultural qualities will do wonders for your cultural awareness and sensitivity, thereby making you a better communicator and sympathizer all around.
When it comes to specific communication situations, though, you can never go wrong by starting out with the universal basic rule: Be genuine and empathetic. Listening closely and giving people your undivided attention is especially important, but words are also a highly expressive way to show sympathy. However, language barriers can pose a problem if you’re trying to communicate exactly what you want to say.
That’s where this list comes in handy. This one simple phrase, “Everything will be all right,” is optimistic, hopeful and shows someone you care. By saying this one phrase, you can sum up all the support you want to give without being fluent in your listener’s native language.
Learn how to say it’s okay in 12 different languages, and you’ll be able to comfort almost anyone when the time comes.
Spanish: todo estará bien
Russian: все будет хорошо
Polish: wszystko będzie dobrze
Portuguese: tudo ficará bem
French: tout va bien se passer
Swedish: allt kommer att bli bra
Bengali: সবকিছু ঠিক হয়ে যাবে।
German: alles wird gut
Italian: tutto andrà bene
Korean: 다 잘될거야
If you need help pronouncing certain words, visit online pronunciation guides, like Google Translate, and they’ll read the words back to you. It’s crucial to learn proper pronunciation so there are no mistakes in your translation and the message comes through clear.
That being said, don’t beat yourself up if you struggle to say these phrases like a native speaker. In fact, put the situation in reverse – imagine you’re in a foreign country, and you’re just plain having a lousy day. A stranger on the subway notices your sad demeanor, and they come over to you.
Then they open their mouth and say “Ets go-eng ta be o-kay!”
Wouldn’t you smile?
A Step in the Right Direction
Learning these 12 ways of letting someone know it’s okay is a great start to making a positive change in the world. Not only are you trying to make someone feel better, but you also learned some of their language. This shows a sign of respect and cultural awareness, and the simple fact that you can speak in the same tongue as them might instantly put a smile on their face.
If you really want to spread the joy – for yourself and for others – don’t stop here. There are many more things you can do to make a positive impact on your own life and those of the people you meet.
For instance, you might take your language learning to the next level. Knowing a few key phrases is great, but why not shoot for fluency in a language you find fascinating?
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Not only would this allow you to connect with a whole other culture in a meaningful way, but language learning has also been proven to have amazing positive effects on the brain – like increased multitasking skills, better long-term memory and a greater aptitude for picking up on even more languages.
If language learning isn’t on your bucket list, try something else to help you brighten the lives of others – explore the fun of partaking in random acts of kindness.
After all, there are millions of ways to share happiness and more opportunities to do it each and every day. On top of that, random acts of kindness have been proven to do more than just make someone’s day. They’ve also been shown to improve your mental and physical health, balance your mood, increase your emotional intelligence and lead to an ultimately happier lifestyle.
So don’t be afraid to listen to that altruistic part of you and talk to someone you might not have met before, even if he or she speaks a different language. You’ll build a more caring world one person at a time.
Do you have a suggestion to add to this post? Are you a native speaker of one of these languages with some advice about proper translation? Contact me here.
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