Support or Encouragement?

“I love you and I support you.”

I’ve heard this phrase a lot lately, and for some reason it makes me cringe. I’m not sure why. I thought perhaps I should explore my reaction in order to understand and break away from it.

Let’s start with the dictionary definition of “Support”. According to support means:

“1. to bear or hold up; serve as a foundation for.
2. to sustain or withstand (weight, pressure, strain, etc.) without giving way; serve as a prop for.
3. to undergo or endure, especially with patience or submission; tolerate.
4. to sustain (a person, the mind, spirits, courage, etc.) under trial or affliction: They supported him throughout his ordeal.
5. to maintain (a person, family, establishment, institution, etc.) by supplying with things necessary to existence; provide for: to support a family.  . . . “
 There are  many more elements to this definition, but I think I can end it here as the two definitions that I’ve highlighted give a hint to my discomfort; particularly number 3.
I don’t want to be tolerated as I figure out my next steps in life. I don’t need the support of anyone else. But what I do need is encouragement. I need belief. I need enthusiasm. Maybe that all falls under the definition of support, but I guess in my own warped and twisted view of the world that word implies that I am incapable of doing something without someone else providing for me. That is not true.
I am capable of supporting myself and supporting my family. But, I do acknowledge that it is easier with a partnership where nobody bears the burden of support–where we collaborate to achieve in equal parts.
I guess it is all about semantics.
Are there any words or phrases that rub you the wrong way? 

30 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jgavinallan
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 12:47:51

    It is all in who is saying this…I have heard…”I will do anything for you.”
    Seems simple…but the person saying it may have a different definition of the word or phrase than you(and the whole entire world.)


  2. Arlee Bird
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 12:50:29

    I guess I would consider the source of a statement, the spirit in which it is said, and the proof that backs that statement. “I love you” is often used very superficially. When I think of support, I often think of politics, but it is fitting in any case where one looks for those who are willing to stand up for one’s cause or provide encouragement as you suggest.

    “For the greater good of the people” is one that bugs me because when it is said the meaning is usually referring to a smaller sector of people and not the majority–it is a phrase attached to an agenda.

    Tossing It Out


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 06, 2011 @ 15:40:50

      Oh yes, “for the greater good” is so manipulative and usually used by people who really mean “for my greater good.”


  3. TheIdiotSpeaketh
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 12:54:55

    I hate “Why in the world are you depressed?”


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 06, 2011 @ 15:40:00

      So true. Excellent choice.


    • Julia T
      Jul 10, 2011 @ 13:16:51

      I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me, “What do you have to be depressed about?”

      “Nobody should have to support all the weight of another one’s world.”
      I really like this, Lisa. I should keep this in mind. While I hate to feel as though someone has to “tolerate” me, it’s unfair for me to expect someone to be there every minute of every hour.


      • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
        Jul 10, 2011 @ 16:38:16

        I think support is all well and good when it is equal, meaning we all help each other and also that it is equally recognized. If someone claims to support but really only gets support, it becomes problematic.


  4. Kidspartyheaven
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 13:01:45

    Yes there is, but I’m not sure I should say it, it may make me feel a little nauseous.



    Ewww ewww ewwww … bleughh. ( fingers in ears la la la I’m not listening)

    There’s something about this word that just makes me cringe.
    Reminds me once when I was with a bloke ( years ago) and he declared that the situation we were in was so…

    No I can’t say it again.

    Now where’s the peppermint tea?


  5. Kidspartyheaven
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 13:05:30

    Oh I have another… it’s :

    ‘You complete me. ‘

    What the … ?
    So if we split then I’m only half a person? How vulnerable does that make me?
    Sorry, I’m whole already thank you very much.
    I’d rather be complemented .

    Wait, there’s another :
    ‘Making lurve’ ( has to be said like that)
    Real mahoosive cringe going on with that one.

    I’m just a weirdo, clearly.


  6. Julia Skinner
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 13:24:15

    I’m going to have a think & watch out & I’ll let you know!


  7. nathan010
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 13:33:00

    “don’t take this personally” is a phase that rub the wrong way, because it usually will be taken personally.


  8. Kidspartyheaven
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 14:02:28

    “No offense but…” ( here comes the inevitable offending attack)

    I just can’t stop with this topic.


  9. sparksinshadow
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 14:27:03

    I love words and am comfortable with them. As a writer they are my life. I try to listen hard to context and also, when possible, watch a person’s face and body language to gauge which definition of a word a person means, before I react. But I also know from traumatic life experience that many people aren’t capable of seeing the world this way. These differences can make communication extremely painful, and at times impossible.

    This is why I love “The Four Agreements.” They help me move through the world with less focusing on these natural differences. But sadly, they may seem pointless or even silly to those who don’t notice the kind of subtleties I mentioned above. I suppose it’s partly this kind of friction between personality types that I was writing about in my July 5th post.

    I know that if I said, “I love you and I support you,” to someone I loved, and they didn’t understand my meaning, I would be awfully sad. Add in them not being able to read my body language, and we have a recipe for discontent. We’ve all got to figure out how to live together. We have to, because our planet is actually rather small.


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 06, 2011 @ 15:34:55

      I love The Four Agreements as well. I know there are good intentions behind the phrase, but, because of circumstances it has lost meaning.


  10. nrhatch
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 15:19:06

    Any trite phrase offered up without sincerity rubs me the wrong way.


  11. Barbarann Ayars
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 17:37:49

    “I hear ya!” “Why don’t you tell me what you really think?” “I’m sorry for dumping…or venting…” Those are just a few that drive me crazy, for they are thin, don’t really connect, and blow me off. Shut me down.


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 07, 2011 @ 09:42:48

      “Why don’t you tell me what you really think?” has the implication that what you think doesn’t matter anyway, but you will deign to listen. Ugh!


  12. Taochild
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 18:20:55

    Just want to point out that definition 4 is closer tot he meaning that many people intend when they say that phrase (if they are being genuine). It does not imply one is unable to do it themselves, just in need of a hand at the moment. That said, I agree with you completely. There are so many phrases that have lost meaning simply because of over use and insincerity. They have become catch phrases instead of sincere thoughts. For instance asking “How are you?” or “What’s up?” by way of greeting. How many people actually want to hear the answer? One of my personal pet peeves is anything that uses the word “free”. That word has totally lost any connection to it’s original meaning.


  13. Tori Nelson
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 20:01:40

    I can understand how the “support” bit can have an irksome quality. It’s similar to The Mister asking me if he needs to “babysit” while I run errands. “Parent” is more like it.


  14. sekanblogger
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 04:28:07

    2 phrases.

    1) Everything happens for a reason.

    2) I’m just saying…..
    Yeah, that’s like the one above, “No offense, but….”
    People use that “I’m just saying” right after they insult you, correct you, or say something that’s obviously offensive.


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 07, 2011 @ 09:40:10

      Often my response to “everything happens for a reason” is “well that reason must be to drive me insane.”


  15. Vix @ LittleMissEverything
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 05:40:34

    I think it does depend on who’s saying it – I woudl take it as encouragement, saying no matter what you choose we’ll be behind you all the way, that they’re there for you if you need them. I don’t think you can too much love or support in life! Sounds like you have some great people rooting for you!

    I don’t like the syaing “to be fair” or “in fairness” just doesn’t make sense!


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 07, 2011 @ 09:36:34

      Some of the sayings people have mentioned, I have used. Eeeek! I have to work on that. I know I’ve said, to be fair. 😛


  16. Beka
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 10:19:23

    You have wise commenters! I agree with Taochild that definition 4 is usually what people mean by support nowadays, but you know the dynamics of your relationships and what these particular people mean by it. Or perhaps your distrust of the word shows an underlying need to break free of old bonds and be more independent. Trust your instincts. I think we get rubbed the wrong way when we spot insincerity. I have a lot of trouble with the word “support” for the opposite reason. My son had a heart catheter procedure last week. My inlaws remembered, but couldn’t be there, because my mother-in-law was ill. My parents forgot entirely. Their track record is one of always being there for one sibling, and almost never for the other siblings. When I called them from the hospital to let them know how my son was doing, my father exclaimed, “Why didn’t you let us know? [I did. You forgot.] We are your support system!”

    They always SAY they support me. It irks me when people say the opposite of what they actually do. In their case they mean we wish we actually had your back, but we don’t. I think it’s nice to have a support system of friends and/or family in place, not because we aren’t able, but because everyone needs a little help sometimes. I have that with my neighbors, and it works both ways, with me giving as much as I get, so there is no feeling of indebtedness or weakness on my part.


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 07, 2011 @ 11:01:52

      I think in some ways our issues with “support” are similar. I don’t mind the idea of support, but when it is all talk and no action, that is when I have a problem with it. If you say you support me, then back that up with some evidence that goes beyond the talk. That doesn’t mean hold me up all the time, but show that support in something more than words. It is really about helping each other. Nobody should have to support all the weight of another one’s world.


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