The Art Of Being Supportive

I think in life we tend to forget the importance of support. Especially these days, people are so hell bent on being independent and doing everything themselves. I remember a couple years ago it seemed as if everyone around me was constantly saying something to the effect of “you do you.” Hearing this always really bothered me because it sounds so selfish. Why do we try so hard to reinforce this lonely idea that no one is owed anything? Why do we glamorize doing everything on our own when we are people who are called to be part of a society. It is in our nature to have a community. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to do it all yourself. Our experiences with others make life worth living and we will not have any experiences to share if we are constantly thinking in terms of “I.” I find that people today struggle to give and receive support. I know that sometimes I do. I find that at times, although I want love and support, I will push it away out of fear. It almost feels uncomfortable. Sort of like it’s risky. At other times I feel that the “support” that others are giving me feels more controlling and manipulative than healthy. Lately life has been teaching me the true importance of giving and receiving proper support. Words are so powerful. They offer the power of building or destroying. If someone is hurting and they come to you for help, it is important to offer them something healing. You don’t want to add to someone’s pain or make them feel small. I believe that support should not be something that you just wing. Be international with the support that you give.

Offer Validation

One important factor to keep in mind when offering a loved one support is to listen more than you speak. Sometimes when someone is going through a hard time, they are not asking you for advice. They simply want to feel heard and validated. I think most of us tend to forget the importance of feeling heard. Listening to someone is not enough, it is important to offer validation and empathy. Sure, you may feel that you are doing your part by offering advice and quickly “fixing” the problem, but a lot of the time people care more about feeling as if they are not alone than they do about fixing anything. When your friend is speaking to you, instead of quickly providing them with a solutions, listen fully and with love.

Love them the way they want to be loved

For some, tough love is exactly what they need. For others, they react better to more sympathetic and warm acts of love. When you are lending support to someone, it is important to make sure that you are loving them in a way that they would like to be loved. We all have different pleasures and needs and you cannot assume that everyone wants to be loved in the same way as you. Offering support is less about you and more about them. If someone has not expressed to you how they would like to be loved, you can figure it out by thinking about how they react to actions and what they appreciate.

I know that some of the worst feelings stem from feeling misunderstood. This has truly taught me the importance of giving love and support in the proper way. Keep in mind that all people just want to feel genuinely loved and validated. Let your support and guidance come from that understanding.

Let’s grow together.

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