If you don't know what to say, listen.
Why do we think we should know what to say and how to handle problems that come up? There's no reason we 'should' know how. And people rarely need our ideas and answers, they need our caring, our interest, our curiosity, and our attentiveness.
It can feel empty, to listen without suggestions or solutions. Like we aren't enough, aren't bringing enough to the situation. But with courage we can learn to do it, to sit in the fire of an issue. Maybe a coworker is angry that we messed up a project, maybe a child is scared of the dark, maybe a partner is sad that we spoke sharply. To listen without defending ourselves, without explaining, without responding from the mind can be our practice.
And if you don't know what to say to yourself, listen inwardly. Just get really quiet, stay in the present moment, and listen to what comes up. Don't let the thoughts and feelings and sensations carry you off to the past or future or the and of 'what if's,' simply listen to them all with genuine interest.
When you do this, I think you'll surprise your loved ones and yourself. Let me know how it goes!
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.