There are many lists about how our supporters can love us (it’s horrible that someone needs a guide on how to do this, but anyways) but I know from my own experience it can often feel like a one-way street with one always giving and the other always taking. We do have a responsibility to show our supports that we love them. They are human as well and need to feel loved and receive reminders that they are valued.
Here are 5 things I have done to show my supporters that I love them! (In some cases my supporters also have mental health/addiction issues so it’s extra important that I show them love!)
1. When a friend, family member or B, my partner, needs my support I am there to listen, offer advice or even send them worksheets or things to read that might be helpful for them.
2. I tell B I love him all the time and tell my friends and family thank you when they have listened to my concerns or done something nice and helped me.
3. I have bought B his favourite comic book in the past and for a friend who was feeling down I snail mailed her funny and inspiration quotes on little cards.
4. Every time I practice a DBT skill I am demonstrating to my supporters that I am working towards improving myself which can help improve our relationship. This is especially true with my partner, B. Practicing DBT skills allow me to have better conversations with him when I need something.
5. I do my best to respect the boundaries that B has set when I get upset. Sometimes that means he needs to walk away and I not follow and other times he wants me to stop swearing at him when I am upset. Respecting these boundaries he has set demonstrates my respect for him and allows him to protect his own mental wellbeing.
Relationships with our supporters need to be as equal as possible.Our supporters cannot always give to us; they can become burnt out. There may be more moments are where we are taking instead of giving but it’s important to know that we always need to give to them when we can. We may find that by creating a more equal, supportive relationship our mental health improves. Giving to others, practicing our skills, and sharing our knowledge can help build confidence and will benefit relationships with others!