We all need some type of support. Let me repeat it… every single person on earth needs support. Humans were not designed to make it through life alone. Every successful business, community, social group, family is built upon a foundation of supporters.

Generally speaking, we define what it means to “be supportive” by our own personal experiences. Children learn and develop their own perspective of life based upon how it is first presented to them, which is oftentimes through early experiences with family or caregivers.

People often think of love and support as being the same. Love and support should be defined separately.

Many times I’ve had people, who I know love me, offer me no support when I needed it. And, vice versa. On some occasions when I needed support, I’ve received emotional and financial support from people whom I had no prior relationship with.

What gets me is when people say they support you, yet don’t communicate or show their support for you. I have a difficult time dealing with hypocrisy, whether intentional or unintentional.

Recently one of my friends was hospitalized and needed financial support for medical bills. I immediately reached out, dug in my pockets and sent a monetary gift. Then I reached out to give emotional support. I even felt a little extra concern, as I’ve been in a similar situation.

Here is another scenario… recently a family member criticized my parenting skills. Oftentimes I disacknowledge criticism, and I just smile and say whatever comes to mind. As I genuinely hate to argue and be disagreeable. But, for some reason I didn’t ignore my feelings that day.

I responded with something like… how can you look at the speck of dust in my eye, when you have a log in your own eye. Needless to say, the conversation following my response didn’t go well.

This is no knock on my family, as I totally appreciate the love and support I currently receive and have received from them. Nevertheless, growing up there were many times felt more support from friends, than from my family.

A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17 AMP

All in all. Even though I know my family member loves me, in that moment in time I felt unsupported and disrespected.

So, how does one be supportive? What should anyone expect when someone says “I support you”?

A health article says, people show emotional support for others by offering genuine encouragement, reassurance, and compassion. This might include things like verbal expressions of sympathy or physical gestures of affection.

We show support by…

  • being an active listener – pay attention
  • Validating their thoughts – show concern and echo what people say
  • Avoid giving judgment – it’s no reason to judge someone when they need your support
  • Avoid giving advice – people don’t want your advice, unless they ask for it
  • Be authentic – be genuine when you respond
  • Be positive and supportive – be complimentary. Avoid negative responses. Avoid pointing out flaws, unless asked your honest opinion. When you are supportive you disregard your personal feelings

13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Romans 12:13-18 NLT

Supporting someone when they are in need is not perpetuating poor behavior. A child needs discipline. An adult doesn’t need to be parented, they need to be supported when going through trying times.

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Jason Perry

I'm a black man with Christian values. A father to my son, a friend to those who desire my friendship, a lover of life and even more...

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This is my journal, my journey, and my perspective in life – JP

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