We are human, so we have emotions that flex constantly, and emotional support helps to smooth out the bumps and roadblocks of life. Emotions run deep, connecting thoughts and feelings, and there is an inner hole in our soul and psyche that feels like it needs filled. The meaning of support is to hold up or hold in. Just like support hose can add a boost of confidence to a woman wearing the stretchy sheer lingerie, emotional support for each other helps to build solid relationships.
To give emotional support does not mean to try to fix someone. Most people realize that this does not work for a spouse, a friend or a work colleague, but we try anyway! However, it does mean at times to hold one back from a decision that would lead one in an unwise or harmful direction.
There are some practical ways we have found that contribute to giving emotional support. What works for a friendship usually works for a spouse and even a colleague, depending on the closeness of the relationship. We focus here on five areas that may help you give additional emotional support to those in your circles or even your significant other.
One: Sharing Books and Media
Greg and I are avid readers and many of the books we read spark ideas to share with each other. He recently shared a section of the book The Call by Oz Guinness with me about staying focused on my main purpose. It was super helpful as there are so many events and organizations that tug at my life and that day I was being pulled in multiple directions.
A monthly subscription to Amazon’s Audible has also fostered sharable material, depending on what I’m listening to. There is also a plethora of information on podcasts and YouTube videos. One of the most recent examples were some YouTube videos on Cryptocurrency that Greg shared with me on not only the digital currency, but the exponential trends in our world today. Colleagues have shared informative and fun links with me, such as sending virtual personalized cards through BlueMountain which made me laugh with amazement at the technology as well as the message. We are surrounded by media, so share away!
Two: Coffee Time
I have made a point to try to meet colleagues for coffee or tea from time to time, but one of the most significant coffee times is the one Greg and I share together most days. I realize many may not have the schedule conducive to do this but as we both have home offices and flexible work schedules, it works for us. Hopefully, you can make the principle work in some way in your life.
There is usually no agenda and we sit and talk over whatever is on our mind. Since I’m an early-bird, I’ve already journaled, checked email briefly and worked about 15-20 minutes on a project, worked out and taken a walk. Some of you may be exhausted already reading this! I bring this up because your coffee time can be at any time of the day. It may be a time of wine at the end of the evening but the principle is the same! As a lightweight with a glass of wine, I wouldn’t be worth much after that!
Your coffee time is a regular time to share thoughts. Great thoughts can’t be scheduled. There are many times that great ideas surface in the 20-30 minutes we share coffee. This is why there is always a note pad handy. Any person on a quest to be known as a thought leader knows how important it is to experiment, take risks and provide time to think. Quality time is the fruit of quantity time, so don’t discount times you meet regularly with a spouse, significant other or colleague. You need to allow time and space for emotional support to happen.
Three: Proof-Read and Proof-Think
Since I write a lot, I really appreciate another set of eyes on my material. For books, I’ve hired great editors as they not only provide direction, but a keen, experienced eye. For The Summit, Jen Singer, known as Machete Jen was my developmental editor and I brought Paula Miller on to format, edit further and thus bring the manuscript to another level. Even though I hired them both, they provided a great deal of emotional support as editors in the process of finishing the book, pushing me to make it better.
Mastermind groups can provide a certain amount of emotional support, dependent on the type of group. Good feedback is absolutely invaluable, especially when constructive, though not always positive. With that type of feedback, you no longer feel alone in your quest, which can make all the difference in your emotional stability over the long haul!
I have friends and colleagues who are not writers, but they do have businesses. These businesses can range from producing events, styling hair, building and construction or other types of work. For those in those types of businesses, you can definitely provide emotional support with a listening ear and give feedback when asked. Notice when asked. There’s nothing like receiving unwarranted advice when not wanted or even needed. That can discount any emotional support you may have intended!
Four: Walking and Talking
When you walk, you talk. I heard this some years ago and its truth has proved itself over and over in my marriage relationship, as well as with friends and colleagues. There’s usually no great agenda on a walk but talking just happens. The discussion may only be centered about the surroundings, but it’s a start in the conversation. There is a joke around our home as I have been surrounded by men with a husband and three sons. It’s a well-known fact that women expend more words than men so walking usually helps me get some of those 30,000 daily words out! (or more!)
Walking and talking is also beneficial for families. We saw this during the year of shutdowns. When people were isolated and feeling stir-crazy, they could still get outside and walk. I saw families do this together, which they may not have done in some time. The shutdowns were unfortunate, but the benefit of families spending time together was invaluable. Many are now trying to hang on to that feeling and connection.
The conversation that flows during walking is usually never planned. You walk, you talk, you laugh and end up providing much-needed emotional support.
Listening is probably one of the most important attributes of giving emotional support. Think about the way you feel when people actually listen to you. Usually you feel understood and appreciated. Most people listen with enough attention to grab a moment to insert their next thought or word of advice. It’s not easy to shut your mouth and just listen!
With verbalizing your feelings, there is a great quote from Dawson Trotman (1906-1956) that still rings true today, Thoughts untangle themselves as they travel over lips and through the fingertips. Whether it’s listening to others or they are listening to you, you may be amazed at how a conversation progresses when there is enough attention paid to what is really being said.
Within a conversation, there are a couple questions that may help you proceed, especially if you struggle with keeping a conversation going. The first is, What I heard you say is… That gives the other person a chance to reiterate their opinion or thoughts. I have found those thoughts are usually elaborated enough to spark many more questions. Another question is Does that mean…? or Does that make you feel…?
I do hope you feel understood and supported. By giving emotional support, you may be surprised at how much support is then reciprocated. As stated, we are humans and our emotions flex constantly. We truly do need each other and one of the greatest gifts you can give to another is to provide that emotional support. You may be surprised how fast it comes full circle, right back to you!
We need each other and one of the greatest gifts you can
give to one another is emotional support.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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