By Tara Kong, MS, NCC, LPC Associate
Supervised by Melissa Barton, MA, LPC-S
What is Emotional Support?
Emotional support is so important to a relationship. Before I start talking about ways to improve emotional support, I want to define what emotional support is. Emotional support is showing care and compassion for another person. This is done with verbal and non-verbal actions. Emotional support connects people and makes them feel they are not alone. Feeling emotionally supported increases intimacy and feelings of trust in a relationship. It is easier to share feelings and be vulnerable with someone who you feel cares for you and has your best interests at heart. There is a connection between relationship satisfaction and emotional support. The higher the emotional support, the greater the relationship satisfaction.
Ways to Improve Your Emotional Support
Ask, Listen, and Empathize
When giving emotional support, it can be easy to try and fix the problem or find a solution. Unless specifically asked for, try to focus on asking open-ended questions to gain more understanding and give your undivided attention. Use non-verbal cues to show you are taking in what they are saying. This can be done by maintaining eye contact, facing them, or touching their hand. Let them know you understand and reassure them it is normal to feel the way they are feeling. Be attentive to what they are saying and be responsive instead of reactive.
Turn Towards Your Partner
There are many opportunities throughout the day to turn toward your partner. Who is the first person you go to when sharing good news? If you are having a bad day, are you able to turn towards your partner for comfort and security? It is important to be a safe place for your partner to come to when the outside world feels out of control. Your partner needs to know that when they’re upset, you will stop and listen.
Encourage Each Other’s Goals and Growth
A supportive partner is someone who is your biggest fan and cheers you on. When you or your partner feel sad, unmotivated, or afraid, do you help lift one another up? Being a supportive partner means you’re both there to help one another if the other one falls or stumbles. It also means you keep their spirits up and celebrate when they are successful.
Talk About Emotions and Show You Care
If you feel you lack the confidence to share your feelings with your partner, this could be a sign of lacking emotional intimacy. When you have a true, emotionally supportive partner, you know you can trust your emotions and feelings with that person. Talking about how you are feeling and being validated is essential. It is also important not to dismiss your partner’s feelings or minimize them. Even if it seems like they are being irrational, their feelings are real to them and deserve to be respected and validated.
Be Supportive in Public
When out with friends or family, show respect to your partner. If you put them down or criticize them in front of others, this will take away trust from your relationship. If you feel something needs to be said, wait until you are somewhere private with just your partner and discuss it then. How you treat your partner in front of others can strengthen their confidence. Recognizing their strengths and capabilities helps to build them up and increase their sense of self-worth.
Incorporate Emotional Support into Your To-do List
Anytime you are trying to add a new skill, it is important to schedule it, plan a reminder, or write it down. Why? It has not become a habit yet, and reminding yourself about checking in with your partner, paying them a compliment, or doing something nice for them is a way to show support every day and not forget to do it.
Love is a Verb
There is no one way to show emotional support. It can come in a variety of ways and look different to different people. If you feel like your relationship is lacking emotional support, it is never too late to start. Showing gratitude, being an active listener, showing affection, or taking something off their to-do list are only a few examples. Also, check in with them for feedback on if they are getting what they need. Showing support in the way your partner needs it is another part of the equation. Communicate often and never give up.
Begin Therapy To Build Emotional Support in Katy, TX!
If you are ready to start working on building a stronger emotional connection, one of the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide mental health counseling, as well as other mental health services. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to learn more information
- Meet with one of our knowledgeable therapists
- Find ways to thrive through therapy today!
Other Therapy Services We Offer:
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and our counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!