Lending the Wrong Support Is Like Handing out Warm Blankets in 100 Degree Weather. Don't Be That Person
Lending the Wrong Support Is Like Handing out Warm Blankets in 100 Degree Weather. Don't Be That Person
The neighborhood football game. Your friend’s early retirement. Baby girl’s ballerina recital. And a co-worker’s husbands funeral service. With your presence these all have an element of commonality. What might you say it is?
You’re absolutely right if you answered they’re all grounds to receiving some form of your support.
Through the period of grief emotional support is provided. Your physical support is evident by showing up to games and recitals. Then there’s moral support as your friend leads an exciting phase of life and freedom.
Of the three, which would you say is the most challenging for most? Believe it or not, it’s moral support. This is mainly due to factoring in what constitutes its’ completion. Moral support doesn’t call it quits after a curtain call, the sound of the buzzer, or any one definite moment; but takes shape through more of an indefinite period of time.
And much like the 5 love languages, this form of support is very specific to the preferences, personality, and originality of the person it’s being lent. Though there is an indirectlink to what may be happening, activities are not the primary focus for the one giving moral support as much as the other forms may.
Why bring this up? After all it’s not rocket science!!! Again, you’re right, but support can be an artful skill. One that once learned is for the most effective way to show up no matter your familiarity in the matters of support. Without intentional awareness to how support is lent, one could give all their energy and time supporting in the wrong way.
This leads to confusion, it breeds on grounds of contention and it will certainly leave one if not both parties totally drained.
Moral support is something that should only be given under careful consideration; and as there’s skillfulness to being the best moral supporter, so also is there for the one being supported. No one gets to shirk responsibility. When supporting someone in the higher conscious way, the moral in support will become as immortal.. Never ceasing, continually evolving and valuable beyond measure for all parties involved.
Let’s get specific with the ideal development of circumstances.
Say you’ve got this friend who wants to be a full time writer. They garner the skill-set and naturally possess the ability to be a great success of an author. They decide to quit their job and go into total pursuit mode with what gives them ultimate fulfillment. You rally behind them. You tell them how much you support their efforts. You tell them how much you support their ability as a writer. You feel so elated for such a new and exciting time they’re embarking upon.
At first there seems to be such great velocity behind their artistic efforts. They’re making moves, creating masterpieces and creating good use of time. You two are talking about what’s next, what they’re looking forward to. And then out of nowhere. SILENCE. Nothing appears to be happening for them. No finished books. No published pieces of writing. No leads for them to follow. Nothing.
Then something remarkable occurs. You recall a conversation you previously had with them. They told you they were aware of what their decision to quit must look like to outsiders. They knew all too well that it looked compulsive. But they spent much time becoming familiar with their decision and they spent time developing their inner being to identify the disciplines that comes with being a person who bets everything on themselves. You recall how inspired you were by that conversation. They were so assured with who they were becoming and you remember thinking how they were within their metamorphosis; unfolding into their own right before your eyes.
True moral support is even without being told, you apply the insights gathered from what you hear coming from them. In order for such insightfulness there must be deep listening, asking, and genuine intrigue that helps you dig further into the specifics of who they are. When you listen, it isn’t words you hear. It’s their heart. You pay attention to what’s important and what matters most to them. And then you do all that is within your power to ensure their inner proximity matches that of their outward manifestations.
You recognize this insight was more for you than them. You know being scared for their journey would do no good. There’s no need to call them in panic about what they’re going to do now that they have no job. Your insightful revelation has you sitting back and showing them you’re confident still in their decisions. Soon enough you receive a phone call. They never mention anything about mistakes. There’s still no talk about any new ventures but they never bring up the feeling of giving up. All they keep talking about is the person they’re becoming. You notice how free they are. You take delight in their observations in life because you know that’s the impetuous of creative spark. From experience through knowledge you know when they take hold of that creative spark, off to the races they go.
Wanting to show that you honor their unfolding, you behave as if the moment depends on them expressing their genius to you. Letting them get their juices flowing. You inquire their WHO, and how as that grows so does their ability to nurture their gifts and their abilities. You don’t merely inquiring WHAT they’re doing because to them the former takes great care of the latter. And from their own admissions, you’re assured they are in the perfect proximity to the energy of what they’re ushering in. It’s not about them ‘making it; it is their history in the making. And as their support, you take great honor having been witness.
If and when by chance they you notice they make strides that appear to take them further away than closer to their target. That’s when you ask questions. You remind them of their own words and you gain clarity to confirm you’re still on their page and once again it’s surprising how differently they see things.
You take inspiration in their answers to your questions. You are blown away by how they perceive what you see as roadblocks. It’s not that they don’t consider them; they just don’t consider them capable of stopping them. You are impressed with the way they deal with mountainous boulders. For they see it as only a call to strategize getting around, under or above it. Nothing perplexes them. They don’t keep going for the lack of opposition; they never stop in spite of them.
They support you in your support for them by validating your efforts. They appreciate your willingness to understand. They let you know how much it means that they don’t have to prove who they are, nor do they feel apprehensive to be vulnerable with you. They know that you get the fact they’re figuring it all out without having to act like they need all the answers for you to be comfortable about it all. It takes such courage and strength on your part and it’s imperative they know you have their back in that way.
It is their job to be clear and upfront about what’s expected. They can do so in their own unique way; but it must be clear. Like any adequate manager, they don’t leave things up to your interpretation. This is the only job they have as it pertains to you. They are managing their personal affairs and they must take accountability that that onus is not put on you. It’s up to them to allow you the space to grow along with them.
Giving that space is crucial and is a sign they are sufficient and capable versus well meaning. Allowing space also gives you regard to figure if you are still up for the job.
If you find that you no longer are; you don’t need to make it about anyone other than yourself. Perhaps you comprehend that you need to spend more time on your own endeavors or maybe you’re growing in separate directions and can no longer provide them the quality moral support their journey deserves.
It’s healthier to let that be known than being a disappearing act, which leads into the opposite end of the spectrum.
Let’s take the same (albeit much abbreviated) scenario. Instead of paying attention to your friend's details, you begin to question their decisions. Once the silence falls and the excitement of their bold decisions dissipates; you rush in. You begin to resent their apparent carelessness to quit and start pressuring them to find another job. They need some income before they make some progress. You’re a realist and you take it upon yourself to give them a dose of reality. You interject fear. After nothing happening, you ask if they’ve considered if this really is for them. You interpose your notions that things need to be happening and propose they reconsider it all and go back to what is known. After all, your motto is, if they want your support; you have to feel comfortable with their decisions.
This perception requires little to no perspective deeper than the level of survival instincts. And this is where so many fall short. It’s not seen as an opportunity to grow. It’s seen as a chance to show how much you want to tell them about what you know. All in the name of being their greatest supporter of course. But what happens is unsettling.
Suddenly the conversations become shorter and more terse. They sense your energy. They notice how little they’re understood by you. They know what it takes for them to feel supported, but because you don’t listen, they stay silent. You hang yourself a badge of honor for hanging in there with them. Every chance you get you re-direct their efforts toward action, action, and more action while dismissing their inward transformation. You foolishly feel you’re doing your duty but you aren’t doing anyone any favors. In fact, you cannot support what you neglect to understand.
The minute that you try, you go from wanting to support into tolerance. Tolerance is for two year olds, not your friend’s road to destiny. But still yet, you interpret their resistance as not wanting to face the truth. But what you don’t realize is they've become fed up with you having never faced theirs.
In closing, as you delve into life, you will find unfamiliar territories that are just plain more pleasurable when there’s someone right alongside the excursion. Take delight in knowing you will never have to hold responsibility for what’s in another man’s heart. Only your own. Everything geared up for later starts with what lies within you today. So regardless of which mode of support you find yourself giving or given, to follow your inner guidance is to be precisely who is needed for any task on the horizon. Now THAT, you can count on. :-)
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© 2018 Ericka Dulaney