Is someone asking for support, but instead we're trying to save them?
I've been thinking a lot about support recently. What it means to give it, how to receive it and what it even really is. I know, light stuff...and, while I haven't come up with an all encompassing perspective, I've been chewing on this:
It seems to me that myself (and so many of us) are subtly taught that supporting someone is taking responsibility for them. Now this might be directly, indirectly, or even just energetically. However, we've been taught to internalize (on some level) and be accountable for, or responsible to, some aspect of another's needs (emotional, physical, mental, or otherwise). You might even argue that is part of what support is about, but, I'm somehow seeing it in a whole new way right now for more of what it is for me...dysfunctional.
The truth is, I can never be successfully responsible for any aspect of any other human being without a) taking some of their power away or b) leaking some of mine (and feeling resentful later). At it's worst, supporting by taking responsibility leaves me feeling unappreciated, burnt out, perhaps angry and resentful and, even worse, the person I'm supporting feels the opposite of support but instead attacked or micromanaged or untrusted! Did I say dysfunctional?
So what if support is more like this? Showing up and standing beside someone, allowing them to take full responsibility for all aspects of themselves, while I do the same for me? What if it means having clear boundaries and good communication? What if it means cultivating the ability to ask for what we need (and then allow the other person to say yes or no and not take it personally)? What if it means taking responsibility for the inherent autonomy we each have over our own beings, bodies, lives, thoughts, feelings, dreams, actions and destinies? And then honoring that same inherent autonomy in the other?
Easier said than done. I know. But when that happens (or some version of it!), it feels good! It feels right. It feels supportive. At least to me. Some relationships I'm better at doing this in than others. Sometimes I'm better receiving this support than giving it (or vice versa). Some days it's easier than others. Regardless though, this is what I want to cultivate more of in my life. Co-supportive relationships and environments full of self-responsibility and interdependence. How's that for a new world vision?