I've really cemented this lesson lately because of my husband. He's had cancer for some years, and there are times when he is not feeling so great. It pains me to see him go through a tough time so I offer tea, I offer head rubs, I offer special treats, I try to do whatever I can to ease his processes. When I finally looked outside of myself, I saw that everything I was trying to do for him, would satisfy ME, not necessarily him. So I stopped offering and stopped trying to help. Instead, I will now just sit with him on the couch while he feels ill, and hold his hand, or hold him. That's it. I don't say anything, I don't do anything for him (unless he asks), I am just with him. Simple. And that's all he needs really, he just wants me to sit next to him and hold him and be quiet. Sitting in silence together, or just sitting next to him as he sleeps allows him to feel safe. And it took me all this time to finally realize that all I had to do was "be with" him, and not try to make him feel better. He's great at letting me know what he needs, so I am just with him. And it's perfect.
So go and "be with" someone in their time of need. It might be exactly what they need!