Are You Emotionally Supported?
As humans – we are shaped by our social connections and we need others to celebrate the good things happening in our lives with them and to get support when things get tough.
One of the best things we can do for our emotional well-being is developing close, healthy relationships. It is also confirmed by researchers that close relationships are what matters most to people. ‘We are evolutionarily hard-wired to heal and be healed by human connection and social interaction’. Elkins (2016, p.51) When those relationships break down or fail to give us what we need, we become distressed/disturbed and lose confidence.
So What Does Emotional Support Mean?
In short, emotional support means the ability to show empathy, compassion, and genuine concern for another person.
When you are emotionally supported, you feel less alone because the other person is concerned for your well-being. You feel that in difficult times there is someone to help you through. They care if you are upset, scared, worried, or happy and you can share those feelings honestly and openly without feeling judged.
Emotionally Supportive Relationship is a Two-Way Street
An emotionally supportive relationship is one where you feel unconditionally accepted and cared for. In healthy friendships and relationships, both people give and receive emotional support freely so it is a mutual feeling. Here are some supportive behaviours which help recognise a supportive relationship.
Below behaviours indicate a supportive relationship:
- Full attention – being listened to without distractions e.g. phone, TV etc.
- Validation of feelings – acknowledging them as important even if we don’t agree
- Active listening and mirroring – attuning, understanding and using encouraging words
- No interruptions – attentive listening and waiting for an organic pause to speak, giving advice only when asked for
- Never disagree with somebody’s feelings – those are unique and as individuals, we don’t always feel the same way but it is important to show our respect and compassion
- Discussing differences in a calm and respectful manner – even when we care for each other, we can sometimes disagree but it can be shared without hurting others’ feelings and by using a gentle tone
it is Not Always Easy…
Our past experiences have an impact on our level of trust. People who have been hurt emotionally in the past, often close off in order to protect themselves. The idea of opening up – and either giving or receiving emotional support – can be terrifying for them.
Developing strong and fulfilling relationships with other individuals gives us fuel to live a joyful, meaningful life. If you are struggling with building healthy, emotionally supportive relationships, talking to a psychotherapist can help you identify the reasons why it is difficult to trust others, discover the barriers you have and work through the process of overcoming them.
If relationships are the source of psychological problems, they also have the power of healing. Relationship with a therapist is a way to help you develop trust again and learn to create healthy relationships with others which will support your personal growth.