What does support sound like to you? — R Voice

What does support sound like to you?

Andrea Hayward
Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 710 admin
edited April 2021 in Self-care & Wellbeing

When offering support, I believe that it's very important for us to listen attentively, be kind and empathetic, create a space in which the person opening up to us feels safe, and be careful to not react in a way that makes them feel invalidated. But I admit that it can still be quite tricky to convey your support in words. I came across this interesting image offering a couple of suggestions and I wanted to share it here.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list! And some of these lines might convey varying levels of support to different people here. Which is why I want to ask you all - What does support sound like to you?

Source: letstalk.mentalhealth |Instagram

Best Answer

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer

    Interesting and an important question: @Andrea Hayward

    Think it is important to consider this both while giving and receiving support. The image you share is an accurate enough summary.

    What support does NOT look like - when it comes with the tone of a distinct lack of empathy and invalidation - either with "I am better than you" or "your pain is making me uncomfortable, here is some lipservice support, now go away!" or other variations...

    I think it is easy to recognize if the support provided matches with the needs of the receiver because it makes the receiver feel better. One can see it almost immediately!

    The following constitute support according to me...

    (a) Recognizing normal human distress signals

    (b) reacting with empathy ["Yes - it sucks! And...I am going to be here with you..." could be an acceptable response to distress...] without ignoring/wishing a person in pain to just disappear

    (c) depending on the situation - asking what the person needs

    (d) if the person does not know what they need - providing space/time/acceptance/validation/companionship/being a listening ear/sounding board for brainstorming until they figure stuff out

    (e) following up with concrete actions that demonstrate actual care

    (f) If the situation is beyond one person giving support - getting a team of friends together/researching about other professional support systems...this also demonstrates care.

    I think if a person knows another human genuinely cares and is making an effort for them - that usually works magic in terms of recovery and healing! Most of the times, the person finds a way out by themselves - because "Someone actually cares about me!" is huge motivation, IMO!


  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 710 admin

    @Raj sundaram so glad you brought up "reacting with empathy without wishing a person's pain to just disappear." I've seen this happen too often and I cannot begin to explain just how much it bothers me. I feel like this happens because a lot of people confuse offering support with sharing advice. And without even realizing it, sometime people tend to feel confused and are a little dismissive when someone's problem persists beyond the time period that they deem acceptable. Or it's almost like "I just gave you a solution yesterday. How are you still feeling low about this?" I don't think this is anyone's fault in particular and feel that the fast pace of our lives has created this situation. I've noticed sometimes that people don't have the time or patience to allow a person to grieve fully or just let their emotions run its course. I really wish that this would change. 😪

    I also completely agree with your point on offering space and time if the person doesn't yet know what they need or the kind of support they'd like from you. Sometimes just being there and offering a listening ear without saying anything can work wonders! 😊

  • Asli Telli
    Asli Telli Member Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    This is so true @Andrea Hayward and the advice queen/king “supports” you generally because that is how s/he wants to see you at work. What a solution-oriented approach(!) I think, without time, commitment and humane love, there can be no sign of real support. That might be why we are all after support networks rather than depending on a few close mates’ shoulders. We also want diverse opinion on the challenges we are facing. Thank you for making us think through this concept:)

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 710 admin

    @Asli Telli I fully agree with your wise words -- "Without time, commitment, and humane love, there can be no sign of real support." 🙂