With everything that’s been happening in the news recently — particularly the Northern California fires affecting people not so distantly removed from me — it’s been incredibly difficult to find any purpose in writing for my blog. It feels trite and empty to sit safely in the comfort of my own room in my apartment, and talk about something that’s bigger than me while I’m safe from the actual significant things that are happening in the world.
My post this week is short and about a question that can hopefully be mulled on both in these times of great need, and in times of more certainty in the future.
Over the past few months, a not-small number of people have asked me, “What does it look like to support you?”
It was a question posed in regards to my work, my writing, my personal challenges, and my relationships with others.
It was also not a question I’m used to being asked, so I wasn’t able to provide thoughtful, complete answers. Even now, several days and weeks later, I’m still not sure I’d have a great answer for these folks if they followed up.
This question — asking people what they need specifically to feel supported — isn’t one that’s asked very often, which is unfortunate, because it’s a question that’s often begging to be asked.
Close friends struggling to provide friendship to someone who’s moved to a different state might ask this. Partners most certainly pose this question to each other. (There’s even an entire assessment and profile designed for partners to learn how they can best support and love each other.) Adult children wonder this of their parents, and parents consider this in regards to their children. (Maybe. I’m not a parent yet, so don’t quote me on that.)
But because many people aren’t comfortable or accustomed to the open lines of communication this question demands, they don’t explicitly ask. Or, they don’t feel comfortable doing so; or they think they should already know the answer to this question and don’t want to make themselves look foolish, so they remain silent.
Break the silence. This applies to everyone, be you question asker or question responder. Ask others how you can best offer them yourself, and figure out how you will best thrive with others’ support.
We’re all just trying to be the best people we can be. It would help everyone tremendously if we all helped each other out a little on our respective journeys.