"Lean on me! When you're not strong, I'll be your friend. I'll help you carry on". You know the Bill Withers song... We do all need somebody to lean on! A basic human need is support. When we are children, we need support and encouragement to develop. As adults we need support to grow and flourish and live to our full potential.
"You just call on me brother, when you need a hand. We all need somebody to lean on". Support means that we have caregivers or friends who will not block our true self's exploration and growth. Support includes actively providing others with what ever is possible is to see that the "real" self reaches its goals. Supporters provide the scaffolding so that someone's "real self" can grow and explore in a safe way.
Loyalty and Trust
"Please swallow your pride if you have things you need to borrow. For no one can fill those of your needs that you wont let show". To be supportive and to receive support, each person needs to feel loyalty and trust. To ask for help, we need to trust that others will be there for us and listen. When a friend or loved one betrays another person's core beliefs, serious damage to the relationship can occur. Children will not seek support from adults they do not trust. Infants will eventually stop crying when they learn through experience that their cries go unanswered. Adults will stop providing support to friends and lovers that they cannot trust. A husband will stop reaching out to his wife when he is consistently dismissed. Trust and loyalty are essential for healthy support. It is only human nature to stop opening up emotionally when it is unsafe to do so.
Grief and Loss
"Sometimes in our lives we all have pain. We all have sorrow. But if we are wise we know that there's always tomorrow". With each and every loss, real or threatened, we need to grieve the loss. That means we have to work through the pain and suffering associated wit the loss. Grief takes time and is individual to each and every being. We have to work through all the pain and suffering that comes with grief and loss so we can grow. We need to seek support based on our own grief style and provide support in ways we are comfortable with. Grief is most effectively explored and accomplished with support. Supporters can provide opportunities to grieve, companionship through grief, and acceptance of the griever.
Check back in as Natalie and Joleen explore more basic human needs. As always, thanks for reading.
Guest post written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT