One thing that always fascinates me about being a coach is seeing the constant patterns that show up with my clients. It’s like every week there’s a “challenge of the week” that all my clients seem to be having.
This week, the theme has been around Emotional Support. Here’s what I’m seeing…
One partner is a superstar producer and strong financial provider. Often, especially with high earners, it can feel like their only job is providing financially. It’s a case of “our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness.”
Financial provision is an AMAZING gift. It creates opportunities, comfort, options, luxury, access, and exclusivity. ((If you are a strong provider- THANK YOU! Keep showing those around you how to charge what you’re worth!))
But, ironically, it doesn’t necessarily create security.
In the absence of personal connection, it can actually create a massive degree of insecurity.
The provider can feel that providing financially is their only place of value in the relationship- causing them to double down on work. And their partner can feel alone in a really big life.
This leaves both feeling unseen, unappreciated, and unfulfilled.
Emotional support is the salve that starts to heal those wounds. However, exploring emotions can be REALLY daunting for some people- and forcing someone to crack the emotional vault can be totally counter-productive.
Here’s the deal; at the core of emotional support is true intimacy (Intimacy= into me you see). So emotional support actually requires a bit of foreplay.
Here are some ways you can begin focusing on each other that will add a deeper personal connection AND begin to turn on the valves to Emotional Support.
Focus on other areas of yourselves that you can each bring to the relationship. Bringing new parts of yourself to the relationship helps establish a personal connection that makes it safe to begin exploring emotions together. It might be one of the following:
* Intellectual Support- what are the random thoughts you entertain? What are you learning about? What problems are you solving? Sharing personal intellectual pursuits can feel like a safer way to begin a more personal connection. What dreams of the future are keeping you motivated?
* Physical Support- Be there. Maybe you aren’t ready to crack open your heart and spill your guts about all your thoughts and feelings but showing up physically for someone is a huge deposit in their emotional bank account. Whether it’s being next to them during a hard time, celebrating one of their accomplishments, or just listening while they unravel, your physical presence is a crucial way to provide more security in the relationship.
* Spiritual Support- talking about spiritual beliefs is a massive way to reveal yourself to your partner. Maybe you want to get back into going to church together, or learning about other beliefs, or expanding your spiritual practice. Many of us have a stir that craves our Higher Power and exploring that as a couple can be a great way to increase intimacy in your relationship.
* Character Support- are you truly showing up as the partner you’d like to be? Do you need to exhibit more courage? Patience? Acceptance? Recognition? Appreciation? Choose one value or character trait that you’d like to focus on and develop habits in the relationship that begin to foster more of a connection.
In short, Emotional Support is a foundational piece to any relationship. And unfortunately, it just doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Instead of making your partner “wrong” for not having the “sensitivity chip”, focus on the other parts of them you can connect to and then work from there.
You’ll find that with a little more acceptance for all the parts of them, they’re more likely to reveal their emotional vault.