Why Support Is Important (Even If You Don’t Need It)

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight? Maybe lift some weights? Probably don’t want to use these as for 3-pound weights….. Photo copyright by Lorna Tedder.

I learned a long time ago—mainly as a child watching my mother—to be self-sufficient, to need no one.  That lesson was something I relied upon heavily when I started my life over as a single mom.

I’m still rabid about being able to take care of myself and terribly awkward about asking for help.  I don’t need it.  I’ll figure out a  way to do it on my own.  I  don’t need your support, thank you.

Or do I?

Just because I don’t need it to make my way in the world doesn’t mean it isn’t extremely meaningful to me.  It’s one of the few things that will bring immediate tears to my eyes, simply because it has been so rare in my life.  I have so often stepped forward to help and support others, but reciprocal support has been neither expected nor offered in most cases.  Emotional support has mostly been a one-way street for me, going in the opposite direction.

So while I don’t “need” it, it sometimes creeps up on me, and I’m always deeply touched.  In this case, it was me responding to a friend that I couldn’t possibly take a particular suggestion because I would have no one to take care of me during a temporary helplessness and vulnerability.  I was floored when I realized my friend was offering to be that help, expecting nothing in return.

That made me wonder:   if I don’t “need” emotional support, then why did that offer mean so much?

When support is a two-way street, it’s a two-way connection, a full electrical circuit of energy.  While I may operate fully contained and independent, that kind of support plugs me into the rest of humanity, makes me a part when I am feeling most apart.


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