Feeling down is a part of life, and try as we might, there isn’t always much we can do when our loved ones are sad or disappointed.
But according to a growing body of research, providing words of encouragement can make a tangible difference. According to The New York Times, the best way to effectively offer verbal support is to validate your loved one’s emotions—as opposed to dismissing or diminishing them. Then, if they’re open to it, help them strategize solutions or next steps. Keeping that in mind, we’ve rounded up 99 words of encouragement you can offer when needed—whether to yourself, a friend, or a family member.
Finally, if you or a loved one is thinking about self-harm and needs emotional support, help is always available 24/7. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (text 988) is free and confidential.
1. The world is better because you are in it.
2. I admire your ability to always… (stay optimistic, keep persevering, speak openly about what you’re going through, etc.)
3. Better times are ahead; I can’t wait to experience them alongside you.
“You may not want to talk much right now, and that’s okay.”
4. I know you’re hurting—and that’s valid. I’m here to listen or help in any way I can.
5. You may not want to talk much right now, and that’s okay. But I think it’d be a good idea to journal and write about your feelings right now—it may bring you some powerful reflection and introspection. Can I offer you some prompts?
6. Even the worst days are just 24 hours; there is hope for tomorrow.
7. If all you did today was wake up, that’s enough, and I’m proud of you.
“If all you did today was wake up, that’s enough, and I’m proud of you.”
8. Failure is usually because you decided to take a chance—that is incredibly commendable.
9. Think about how far you’ve come. Take a minute to celebrate that.
10. Would you like me to check in on you tomorrow (and again the following day)?
11. Remember: This is what you are going through, not who you are.
12. Counseling (or therapy or mental health resources) has helped me through tough times like this—can I help you find the same? I’ll even go with you, if that’d help.
13. What’s meant to be will always find a way—in love, in career, in friendship.
14. When things don’t work out, it’s often a sign from the universe that we’re being redirected to something better.
15. Just because you’re going through this doesn’t mean you have to experience it alone—and you won’t.
“Be kind to yourself; you deserve it.”
16. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself; you deserve it.
17. Could we consider a potential re-frame? One day, you’ll look back at this time and see it as just a blip in the great timeline of your life.
18. Take a few deep breaths; visualize a better tomorrow with each exhale. This meditation might help.
19. Consider what you can control in this situation—and if you can’t wait for an opportunity, let’s create one.
20. Moving forward can be slow and hard, but speed isn’t what matters. Progress is progress.
“Speed isn’t what matters. Progress is progress.”
21. Let it out. Let it all out.
22. Even in the moments that you don’t believe in yourself, remember that I always do.
23. Is there anything we can take away and learn from at this moment?
24. You are worthy and deserving of everything good the world has to offer.
25. Take one day at a time—sometimes an hour at a time.
26. Rest and recharge; what feels impossibly hard tonight might feel a little easier by the morning.
27. Remember the respect you deserve; don’t settle for anything less.
28. Asking for help is a sign of self-respect, and I’m here. I always will be.
29. Do not let this experience shrink you down. You deserve to take up space.
30. Your feelings deserve to be felt, acknowledged, and seen.
31. Instead of wondering what could go wrong, ask yourself: What if everything worked out? What if everything went right?
“What if everything worked out? What if everything went right?”
32. Disappointment from others happens—how can we show up for you now instead?
33. Can you name three or five traits you admire about yourself? Take a moment to enjoy and embrace each one. (Or, if not, I’ll share some first.)
34. Pain requires vulnerability, and even though it hurts right now, I’m so proud you allowed yourself to be seen in that way.
35. What would 15-year-old-you say if they saw how far you’ve come?
36. I see you, I celebrate you, and I hold space for you.
“I hold space for you.”
37. Tell me all the heavy things you’re feeling—and then let’s talk through them one by one. We’ll work through this.
38. It’s time. Time to let go of your suffering, or guilt, or worry.
39. What do you need right now? Right at this moment? How can I provide that for you?
40. I forgive you; I’d love if you could forgive yourself, too.
41. What would “future you” say right now?
42. Please don’t forget to take care of yourself: Nourish your body, allow yourself to rest, spend time with those who uplift you.
43. What are some recent wins—both large and little—that we can take a moment to celebrate?
44. Let’s get out of your head and go for a walk. Do an activity together. Volunteer in service of others. You might feel differently afterward.
45. The old adage is true: Comparison is the thief of joy.
46. You are never “less than.” You are more than. More than the wildest dreams I ever had for a good friend, a partner, a parent.
47. We’re all humans trying our best each and every day.
48. What is your gut telling you?
“Unclench your jaw. Loosen your shoulders.”
49. Unclench your jaw. Loosen your shoulders. Close your eyes. Inhale, exhale.
50. The world is hard, but don’t let it affect the softest, most vulnerable parts of you.
51. You are worthy of asking for and receiving help—this is not your burden to bear alone.
52. Would you like advice or just an ear to listen? Whatever it is, I’m here.
“Would you like advice or just an ear to listen?”
53. I’m sending you something to help lift your spirits; I hope it brings a smile to your face.
54. Are there any thoughts or recurring themes that have come up that you’d like to share?
55. There’s nothing I can say, but there’s maybe something I can do—what would be most meaningful?
56. I wish you saw yourself the way I see you; you’re incredible.
57. Talk to yourself like you would your best friend—would you allow yourself to say these things to me?
58. Your resilience is admirable—but you don’t have to weather every storm on your own. I’m here to work through this together.
59. Your ability to feel so much—when it’s easier to be numb—is a gift.
60. I am so very sorry that’s happening; I am sending you all the love and strength I possibly can.
61. May I give you a hug?
62. Sometimes, walking away (or setting boundaries, or removing toxic relationships)—even when difficult—is the best thing you can do for yourself.
“You don’t always have to keep it together.”
63. You don’t always have to keep it together. I give you permission to fall apart from time to time, and you should give yourself the same.
64. I’m saying this with all the love in my heart, but it may be time to seek some professional help and support.
65. You are not your illness.
66. Call me if you need to talk, but I’m also happy to come be with you in person.
66. It’s okay to not feel okay.
67. Sadness and disappointment are human; it’s how we respond to the feelings that matter most.
68. I encourage you to do something nice for yourself: Can you take a warm bath? Re-read your favorite book? Put on your favorite album?
69. Don’t worry about [X] right now; just focus on caring for yourself.
70. I want to respect your space but also give you the opportunity to share—would you prefer to sit together quietly or in conversation? Either way, I’ll be here.
“Can I tell you the three traits I love most about you?”
71. Can I tell you the three traits I love most about you?
72. This is a safe space, and I will always respect the words shared and the trust between us.
73. I know you can handle this alone, but that doesn’t mean you should. What can I shoulder?
74. No need to respond; just a quick message to say I love you and I care about you.
75. This too shall pass.
76. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no timeline, either.
77. There is often no benefit to placing blame—what can we all do now to move forward?
78. Just because something didn’t work out right now doesn’t mean it never will—keep the faith, if you can. I’ll do the same.
79. Healing is the long game. It’s a long process, and it’s okay to take your time.
80. There are so many parts of you to celebrate, even if you can’t see it right now. (Note: Here are 99 compliments you can choose from!)
81. You’ve always helped me through a hard time, and we’ll get through this one together, too.
82. You’ve always been a beacon of light in dark times; may I be one for you?
83. Want to sit in silence together?
84. I’ve been in your position before, and what helped me most was [X]. Is that worth trying?
“Yep, this sucks. No sugarcoating it.”
85. This is a painful situation, I know. But, like everything in life, it is also temporary.
86. Yep, this sucks. No sugarcoating it.
87. Would you like to snuggle [my pet]? Furry friends always help.
88. This ending is a whole new beginning for the rest of your life—what are some of the exciting opportunities to come?
89. You did the brave, courageous, and hard thing—I so admire you for it.
90. If something hurts when it ends, it was probably pretty great when it was happening. Can we relish in that memory for a minute?
91. I wish for things to be easier for you. And soon.
92. I can imagine that was very difficult.
93. You don’t have to explain yourself to me. I believe you.
94. You don’t have to talk until you’re ready. (Or ever.) I’ll be here as a support either way.
“Try not to worry too much about things that haven’t yet happened.”
95. You’ve survived 100% of your worst days so far. You’re a champion.
96. I don’t think what you’re saying about yourself is true, and here’s why.
97. Try not to worry too much about things that haven’t yet happened—what can we focus on today?
98. You don’t have to have all the answers or figure it out right away. This may take time.
99. I love you.
Henah Velez (she/her) is the Senior Editor at Money with Katie at Morning Brew, as well as a writer at The Good Trade. She holds a Master’s in Social Entrepreneurship and is a proud Rutgers grad. Originally from NJ, Henah’s now in the Bay Area where she loves shopping small, hanging with her pets, or traveling.