What is support? Ideas and strategies to help others.

by rodney on May 5, 2012

Often I’ve been asked the questions what is support? How can support someone? How much support is enough? These are not easy questions as there are no easy questions. Support is a very general concept and the kind and level of support that someone can give depends on the individual.

While support can be given in many different ways, when get down to the basics, support is a connection between two people. This connection inspires, encourages and gives hope, guidance and belief to people so that they may reach their potential.

This connection is important to us all. It is an important ingredient to life, just as air and water is. Without it, people cannot grow and their passion and self-esteem will decrease.

The many different ways you can support others reflect the diversity of the human race. Support can be simple; a kind word, a smile, a thumbs up. A hug is one of the most simple and most powerful supportive gestures. It builds and strengthens the connection. It also lets another person know that someone is there for them, that they are not alone and that you care. In fact, touch has been proven to major benefits on the human body. In infants, hugs help to develop the respiratory system. A baby can die if it is not hugged enough.

Listening is also powerful. People talk because they want to be heard. It isn’t enough to wait for your turn to talk, you need to actively listen, and this includes paraphrasing what someone has said and validating their feelings. When you listen and allow people to speak, they can talk through their feelings and find closure for their issues.

Often I find myself sitting with my clients. We don’t even need to talk; just sharing the same space with one another is enough.

As I said in the beginning, the level of support to give depends on you, the individual. It is important to examine the relationship you have with the other person. Depending on the relationship, there may be boundaries that prevent you from offer ring certain methods of support. For instance it would not be appropriate for a teacher to hug a student, whereas it is appropriate for that teacher to hug their spouse or children.

You also need to weigh up what type of support you can give. Are you able to emotionally invest? Do you have knowledge or authority in the field that support is needed? If the answer is no, your support may best be given by encouraging the other person to seek the right person to support further.

By discovering what you can do and the best way to do it, you can effectively make a healing and supporting connection with people in need.

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