December 23, 2009

* Supporting Friends

An interesting conversation came up for me today. It was about how we support our friends.  The outcome of the discussion seemed to be we are very good, or at least somewhat good, at supporting our friends in times of trouble, in times of need.  I did a little research on the web.  Fascinating.  There are sites for every type of support when people are 'down and out'.  How to support a friend who is depressed.  How to support a friend in the hospital.  How to support a friend with family difficulties. How to support friends with eating disorders, drug abuse issues, one who talks too much, jumps to high, sits too long, slurps their coffee from the saucer, or leaps off cliffs and injures themselves.  I'm sure it would not be hard to find a site on how to support a friend who has hair on her upper lip!  Yes, I think we can handle supporting friends in need.

My question is this:  How proficient are we when it comes to supporting our friends and helping them to grow, to move forward.  How good are we at cheering them on when they are making baby steps towards a goal, or experimenting with new projects and taking small risks towards 'putting themselves out there'.  What about our artistic friends with all that creative talent.  Artists need all the love and encouragement they can get.  Anyone who is creating anything in their lives requires support big time.  Are we in their cheering sections then?  Do we encourage, cajole, applaud, brighten, buck up, cheer on, embolden, energize, enliven, excite, exhilarate, fortify, give a shot in arm, gladden, inspire, praise, prop up, psych up, rally round, reassure, revitalize, spur on, stir up and strengthen a friend who is reaching for a higher rung on the ladder? (Did'ja get all that??)  Are we really there for them then?  Are we 'present' ... do we really 'hear' them?   Oh, I think it's easy to do that for our children.  So much potential visible ... that's easy for us.  However, when we are grown, somehow society supposes we don't need so much encouragement and support anymore.  It is presumed we are strong and self sufficient in moving forward and attaining our goals.  I disagree so very strongly.  As adults we are even more vulnerable.  As adults, many of us have been knocked down and trampled a few times. We are cautious how we get up and re-enter the world.  We are nursing our bruises.  We need our friends more than ever.  We need a fan club to shore up our confidence.

Another interesting thought.  Are we, as parents, teaching our children to encourage adults and elders?  As our children grow, and become adults themselves, are they able to take their place in the world and encourage us and our peers to reach for new heights.  Will they know how to encourage their grandparents?  Will there be any support and encouragement or will their elders become invisible to them?  (Another topic for discussion.)

Here's my point.  Let's SUPPORT each other. Let's encourage each other when it comes to the GOOD STUFF!  Let's give away a few Rah Rah's.   Let's be there for each other so we can all move forward at break neck speed.  Let's celebrate the small stuff.  Can you imagine how strong we would feel?  WOW!  I have a dear friend in Sherwood Park.  She works full time and is studying for her degree in Art.  YOU GO GIRL!  Another old and darling friend in Vancouver works her heart out, owning, operating, running and expanding her own business.  I'M YOUR BIGGEST FAN!  For my friend here in Victoria who constantly struggles with her writing, even though she's incredible ... YOU ALREADY KNOW I'M HERE FOR YOU, BABE!

Most of the women I have as friends are traveling the path alone.  They do not have a spouse to come home to and discuss things with.  There is no support there.  Children have grown and left the nest and in some cases the area.  No support there.  In many instances, our children are in the fever of life raising their own families.  We are not right up there on their priority list.  We need our friends.   I would say it's up to us to be there for each other.  It's our responsibility.  It's important.  It's urgent. 

Often, I feel as though I have very little support as I struggle to find my creative voice.  Perhaps we all feel that way from time to time.  I'm going to think more about this.  Perhaps I don't offer enough support and encouragement either.  Let's all think about it.  Who do you support and in what ways?  Are you there for your friends when they are 'incubating' an idea?  Do you encourage them to move a little bit forward each day?  How could you be more supportive?  What fun things could we invent?   The quotation below hits the nail on the head for me.  It's knowing my friends believe in me.  Sometimes it's nice when they tell us that so we can 'hear' it.

"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when she discovers that someone else believes in her and is willing to trust her."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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