If you want to be the best support for someone you love, show up in these three simple but powerful ways!
I have a dear friend who went through brain cancer and sometimes we sit around and laugh about the worst things people have said to us respectively, about her cancer and about my son’s illness.
I know, it may sound mean but it’s better to laugh than get upset. The truth is that each of them was trying their best and we acknowledge that. But sometimes it falls short, really short.
Now the other day, one of my dear friends, Shannon, extended herself to me in the absolute best way so I thought today, I’d celebrate a win!
And not only celebrate it, but break it down so you can repeat it in your own way.
Because the components of what she did are translatable to any situation.
I’m going to break it down and give you the secret to her magic.
Let me paint the scene for you first.
Last Wednesday was a ten hour day, our biannual appointment day, at Children’s Hospital with my son. And it was brutal, as we expected. I'll save you the details but in summary, it was endless doctors and therapists coming in and telling us what's gone worse over the last 6 months and how it will just keep declining.
See, told you it was brutal.
But let’s get to the good part.
Shannon offered to bring us lunch and thankfully, we accepted.
Seemingly, a simple offer, but she did it in such a magical way that it’s worth celebrating her and how we can all show up for others.
And if you replicate even one of her secret sauce magical ways, you’ll be golden but I’m going to give them all to you.
1. Be specific.
She walked into my office at work, asked when our appointment was and said, “Can I bring you lunch?”
She didn’t say, “How can I help you?” or “Let me know if you need anything.”
These questions are well-intentioned but I’m going to break it down for you. It’s NOT helpful.
When I’m overwhelmed emotionally or with stress, I can’t even think of how you can help me. I just need you to give me a path.
Always, be specific, offer something tangible. Just show up.
2. Act like it’s no big deal. Even if it is.
Here’s what I mean.
This amazing woman, single mother nonetheless, waits for me to come out to the lobby to get the food and when I thank her profusely for her time that day, she says, “I’ve got the day free. It’s no big deal.”
Ok, I’m going to tell you right now. No one has the day ALL free. No one doesn’t have a ton they could do. No one.
But what she did was spare me her story. She just showed up for mine.
That, my friend, is pure love and generosity.
You see, there’s no point in telling me all the things she could be doing. Or what she put aside to make this happen. No point.
If you’re going to offer to help, act like it’s the ONLY thing you have on your mind that day. Like it’s the ONLY place you want to be.
That’s how you show up.
3. Add in a little something special.
So, it’s worth saying that all of what Shannon brought was special. Such nourishing, yummy food.
But then she added a blue batik covering for us to eat on. So, this was the table in the sun, out in the hospital courtyard, where we ate.
I mean, seriously, how fancy is that? We felt like we were eating at a special restaurant. In the middle of that brutal, emotionally taxing, heart breaking day, we felt like we were out to eat at the most special restaurant there was. Imagine that. That’s what she gave us.
Add a little something fancy or special to what you do.
bring a meal to someone’s house, maybe you bring a special bottle of wine or nonalcoholic fun.
give someone a ride to a doctor’s appointment, maybe you have a treat for them in the car or play their favorite music.
know someone has a hard day ahead, maybe you drop off a little something special for them on their doorstep so they get it before they head out.
Get my drift? I didn’t even tell you about the sweet book that she included on finding our super powers or the but I don’t want to make you feel like you can’t live up to Shannon so I can’t extoll all of her amazing-ness here:)
Because you can!
You can show up for people in these amazing ways.
Just remember these three ways I’ve broken it down and apply them to your particular situation.
Trust me, you’ll make a difference and like me, your friend will be lauding you for much longer than that one day!
Let me know what you think and if you've had amazing experiences of support. I'd love to hear what parts of it made it so wonderful so we can add them to the list!