We can all do more to show those around us – especially those within the veteran community who selflessly served us first – these two simple words: YOU MATTER.
We also understand it can feel vulnerable and uncomfortable at times to reach out and ask the important questions of “How are you doing?” or “Are you ok?”. That’s why we wanted to share some of our recommendations for how to simply and easily connect with those around you to share support and YOU MATTER, because your words or actions – no matter how big or small – can always make a difference.
- When someone crosses your mind and you wonder how they are doing, reach out. Trust your intuition. Odds are it is for a reason and will encourage positive conversation. Not sure how to start? Keep it simple and honest, “Hey, you crossed my mind and I thought I’d check in. How are you today?”
- Set a regular time to catch up. After meeting or connecting in a positive way, suggest doing it again sometime soon and follow through with it. For example: “Is it ok if I call you next week, same time?” or “We should do this at least once a month!” Being consistently there for those around you helps build trust, comfort and a reliable support system.
- Invite them to get together. Whether it’s a walk through a nearby park, fishing, playing cards, having a coffee or a meal or watching a favorite TV show or movie, doing something alongside someone can sometimes feel less intimidating than a face-to-face conversation and still allow for deeper conversations and connection to happen.
- Write them a letter. If writing is your thing, surprise them with a handwritten note. It doesn’t have to be long; even just a quick postcard that lets them know that you are thinking of them and wishing them well can be a bright spot in their day. We even have a free, downloadable YOU MATTER letterhead here that can help get you started.
- When meeting, offer your full attention. When you are together, quiet your mind and just listen. Pay attention as they share their updates, feelings or emotions. You don’t need to have the answers or solutions to share; oftentimes, just having someone to show up, listen with sincerity and without judgment can make all the difference.
- Express gratitude and give affirmations so they know they matter. Always try to end your interaction or conversation by lifting others up. Be sure to thank them for the time together, encourage them to reach out anytime and remind them that you will be there, and affirm them with words like “YOU MATTER,” “you are loved,” or “thank you for being in my life.”
For more ways to join our YOU MATTER movement, visit bootcampaign.org/youmatter.