Support (verb): bear all or part of the weight of; hold up.
Support (noun): a thing that bears the weight of something or keeps it upright.
We are in this together is a powerful collective intention. It sounds like a mutually supportive action. But are we? Is everyone truly supporting each other and everyone else?
I am doing what I can to support myself, support my friends and family, support my work colleagues and more specifically my trainee teachers, support women through my peer support circles and others through various networks I am in such as We Are In Beta, NourishEd and HeadsUp4HTs.
In turn I am being supported, I have lots of people reaching out to me to check in on me too. But I am also reflecting on who has not reached out, on who is not offering emotional support to me as a friend during these bizarre times. In turn, I will have friends who will be wondering why I have not reached out too.
The idea behind the #DailyWritingChallenge was to offer some individual support through the catharic process of writing. I process my feelings each morning by writing down my thoughts. It is my daily anchor. If my blog helps one person, then it is worth me writing it, but above all it is supporting me. The growing DM group is supporting 34 people on twitter who are dipping in and out of the blogs, it is helping some find and use their voice. I know others are reading the blogs and they are journalling privately at home so it is helping them too.
To be supportive:
Are we holding each other up during these difficult times?
Are we listening to understand and not to judge?
Are we reaching out to loved ones regularly?
I have a small tight nit family who I speak to weekly normally but it has moved to every few days at the moment. I have a vast friendship network, I am in lots of whatsapp groups who are checking in on each other and I have a close circle of people who I ring/ who ring me regularly. I am appreciating the positivity and support from social media at the moment – the world definitely feels more united than it has done in a while.
To be supporting:
Are we doing our bit?
Are we an emotional or a financial crutch for others?
Are we volunteering to support those who are lonely and isolated?
I have seen some brilliant community initiatives come to life in the last few weeks. Many people are going above and beyond to do their bit. People are reaching out to strangers. People are showing their appreciation for key workers who normally feel downtrodden. Is the pandemic a message to the world to come back together and behave as a cohesive unit?
To be supported:
Are we asking for help?
Are we accepting assistance?
Are we giving or taking?
For some this is a difficult thing to do, it does not come naturally to reach out, to share one’s vulnerability nor to ask for what we need. I shared a meme on twitter last week reminding people to check in on their ‘strong’ friends. Just because they appear to be holding themselves together does not mean that they are and it resonated with many. Moreover, we all have ‘gifts’ and resources we can share with each other. It is a reciprocal process to support and to be supported.
When our world feels so unstable and chaotic, support makes it feel safer. Whatever the metaphor you want to use of an anchor keeping a ship safe, roots keeping a tree upright, scaffolding keeping a structure standing, our support mechanisms will get us through the coming days, weeks and months. As existing support is tested, new sources of support will also be formed.