Support or emotional support can be offered by one person to another and it is being able to see or understand another person's needs or discomfort and having the capacity to be there for them when it is asked for.
Having the ability to support another requires a degree of other-centeredness. You need to be able to know a person, hear what they are saying and to sense how they are feeling and then be able to respond in some way to those persons needs by offering helpful verbal suggestions or reassurance. It may take some form of physical help such as helping them with getting through a day or simply listen to that friend as they talk about their feelings without having to solve their problem or give advice but to just be there for them
In the therapeutic modality of Gestalt, support is one of the most important skills that an individual can develop. For an individual to be stay mentally and emotionally healthy they need to be able to support themselves in a balanced way. There are two main areas of support and they are support that comes from the environment or – environmental support and the other is self support. That's the kind of support we offer ourselves when we are aware we are struggling but cannot get it from the environment.
When we are more unaware and unskilled supporting ourselves may take the form of drug or alcohol use to cope. It may be acting out sexually to deal with stress and pressure and so on. If however these forms of 'self support' are no longer serving us then an evolving person may begin to explore what a more nurturing form of support would be. In this case from the environment it might mean calling a helpline, joining a support group, deciding to start seeing a therapist around a particular issue or for a period of time or joining a yoga class or sport team.
Learning to self support might include learning about healthy self talk, reading self help books and acquiring communication skills. It might include learning about cognitive behavioural therapy so one can start to manage positive thought processes better and to learn about self nurture that does not require drug taking or any activity that is a bit 'lose-lose' as opposed to 'win lose' or 'win-win.'
The concept of support in its simplest form means becoming aware that we can look after ourselves in various different ways by choosing positive supports that are going to be more beneficial in the long run. Why would someone choose drug taking or sex addiction as a support? The fact is they are probably not aware that that is what they are doing and the reason they are doing it.
Again this is only necessary if the drug taking or behaviour in question is becoming unmanageable or painful for them. This is the point where one can benefit from beginning therapy, reading informative books or starting a personal daily program that helps the individual start the day well, keep them in a positive frame of mind and that offers healthy solutions to the stress and pressure of life rather than destructive or dangerous choices. So support yourself well. Look for the support in your environment. Learn to self support in a highly effective ways and take some risks in reaching out for support when needed. These are beneficial and worthwhile skills to have.