How we Support Each Other

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it takes to sustain someone trying to make a difference in the world, and about the kind of virtual contract we need to sign with each other if we are going to do this work together.

Here’s a starting list for what I’d put in that contract:

I will answer your call, even if I haven’t heard from you lately. Because I know that if you’re calling, it’s important.

When we speak, I will be there fully for you – emotionally as well as intellectually.

I will care for you.

I will express support and love.

I will ask tough questions, and I will be willing to search for answers with you.

I will help you hold up a mirror to yourself.

I will always show up in service of your purpose, which sometimes means holding your feet to the fire.

I will be kind, and tough, gentle and strong.

I will remind you of why you do this work.

I will help you to see that you are stronger than you think you are, and that you are stronger than you feel right now.

Additions welcome…

5 thoughts on “How we Support Each Other

  1. I will encourage you to take care of yourself so that you can care for others.

    I will reassure you that you’re not alone.

    I will remind you that who you are and what you do matters.

    I will pray for you.

  2. This would be an excellent contract to sign with your children as well. At about age 11 this is just what they need to hear (they need to feel it when they are younger than 11) and it should be reiterated every week.

  3. Thank you, Sasha! It is a great idea! I need this support, and I am sure, I am not alone! I’ll continue this list and will practice it with my friends.

  4. I like this! I’m wondering how it meshes with the taxonomy of friendship that Maria published this week over on Brain Pickings. I.e. do all your levels of “friends” get this same level of attention or is it necessary to prioritize in the interest of focus and energy? That seems a bit cynical, but the question really is: are there breadth vs. depth trade offs in how much support you can offer to how many people? And how do you choose?

  5. Amy thank you for the reference to Maria’s post. I don’t think of it so much as trade offs but rather understanding who are those kindred spirits in whom we will truly invest and will invest in us – and how to actively seek them and invest in those relationships if we feel we haven’t developed them sufficiently (in either quantity or depth).
    I found this line from Maria’s post particularly helpful, “A friend is a person before whom we can strip our ideal self in order to reveal the real self, vulnerable and imperfect, and yet trust that it wouldn’t diminish the friend’s admiration and sincere affection for the whole self, comprising both the ideal and the real.”
    People who meet this definition seem so different from all the “outer circles” that I don’t really experience any sense of trade off between the two – they are two different types of relationships entirely.

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