Be the support you wish to have

My mum is in her mid-fifties but she looks much younger. I attribute her anti-aging superpower to genetics and diet, but lately I realize that she might have another superpower – my dad. In the past 30 years, my dad has been constantly telling my mum that she’s the prettiest woman in the world.

My dad has always been generous about compliments and support. Before we do something scary, like giving a speech, he’d say, “I know you can do it, you’re my smart daughter.” If we win, he’d say, “Of course you’d win, you have my genes.” If we perform poorly, he’d say, “It’s okay, I know you will nail it next time. My kids are awesome.” He’s one of the funniest person I know. He praises us in a humorous way, without being showy or inflating our ego. His optimism and support have shaped us to be quite driven and confident.

 

The world’s most handsome dad and his world’s prettiest daughter. Yes, he thinks he’s hot.

I understand that not everyone has this support system. My friend’s dad would beat her mum up and bang her head on the wall. Somebody else grew up feeling ugly and under-achieving because she’s bullied in her school. Another friend’s girlfriend always discourage him from having dinner with his friends.

Here’s the story that triggers me to write this post. A friend’s mum would scold him with harsh words and sharp voice whenever he goes against her will. He grew up feeling lonely and not understood. Guess what? As an adult, he’s equally harsh to his wife and their only child whenever they go against his will. His childhood trauma and the loneliness of not being supported led him into a vicious cycle. He’s constantly complaining about his wife who stops him from going out with friends and objects his venture to change his job. They seem pretty unhappy.

I think a lot about how the difference in our childhood and his childhood has shaped our minds.

My conclusion is this,

If you want to be happy, be kind and supportive to the people around you. 

When someone tells you how he feels, what he’s going through, or a new idea,

1. Listen. Just listen.

2. Try to understand his/her point of view. Don’t judge too quickly.

3. Think before you talk. Be open and kind.

4. Give constructive advice. Be open and kind.

5. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

What can you do if you need a support system?

1. Be open to a friend whom you trust.

2. Find your tribe, online or offline.

3. Support another person. Join a charity project.

People who perceive themselves to be supported are happier. In supporting others, you are supporting yourself.

Here’s a challenge for you: Name one person who has supported you before, and pay it forward.