Sunday, March 19, 2006


I sat down at my desk today and tore off the 18th from my page a day ‘Dr Phil’s Family First’ calendar. I am enjoying his words of inspiration.

Today’s message is, “Actively support one another every day. Make it a family policy to give one another at least one supportive remark a day – more is better – but a minimum of one per day.”

To a loving and nurturing family, this might seem like the most basic if not obvious thing to do. We all know how important and valuable it is to nurture each other with positive feedback and acknowledgement. I started thinking about those people, children in particular, who are deprived of this kind of input in their lives. I started thinking about the general difference between help and support. Is there even a difference? I think there definitely is.

Asking for help is one of the biggest subliminal challenges I deal with in my life. Circumstances have put me in a situation where my survival depends on being able to ask for help, and to allow myself to be helped. It is one of those life lessons that are very similar to trusting that if you say, ‘No’ to people, they will still love you. I have learnt over the last 9 years that people will not think less of me if I have to ask for help.

I very much believe that it is not fair to expect people to guess what your needs are. We don’t know what’s inside each other’s heads so it is really not fair to make people wrong for not giving you what you need from them. If you want something or need something from someone in your life, you have to communicate it.

A few weeks ago my dog was acting really strange. I was concerned that she might have picked something up at the doggy hotel she had stayed at while we had been away in Toronto. Daniel was away on business and I had to get Pingy to the vet. This is a difficult undertaking for me on my own. I can’t pick her up off the floor. She is nervous in the car and needs to be held and getting her in and out of the vet is also difficult for me. The only appointment the vet could give me that day was around 6pm which is a busy time for all my friends with kids, and homework and dinner, etc.

My friend Jodi’s son works at the clinic where I take Pingy, so I called Jodi to ask if he was going to be working that night. When I told her what was going on, I didn’t even have to get as far as asking if Seth was working. She basically told me what time she would be at my house to help me with getting Pingy to and from the vet.

While this might not appear to be a huge gesture, for me, it really is. By understanding what the difficulties were for me in the situation, she assessed for herself that I needed someone to go with me and she was instantly forthcoming with the support I needed, without my even having to ask for it. For me, that is exactly where the difference comes in. As much as I know I could have asked her to help me, the fact that she relieved me of that and was forthcoming with the offer, just made the whole process so much easier for me to get through. I felt immediately unburdened and relieved knowing that I would get Pingy well taken care of.

I am sure Jodi probably didn’t even give it much thought. That’s the kind of person she is. She just gets on with that which needs to be done. For me though, this routine situation had become an issue in my day and my friend just made it all ok by extending unconditional support and the bonus gift was that I didn’t have to ask for it. That for me amounts to ‘give one another at least one supportive remark a day’ in the best possible way.