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‘Showing Up’ For The People In Your Life Is Powerful. We Can All Get Better At It

Throughout the process of co-writing The Feminine Revolution, I was repeatedly taken aback and moved in so many ways, by so many people.

Acquaintances I hadn’t seen in 20 years reached out to congratulate me. Members of my team at Stanton & Company told me they’d bought the book for all their friends. Friends from all parts of my life offered to introduce me to people they thought I’d like to meet. All of these people coming out of the woodwork reminded me how impactful small gestures of support and goodwill can be. So I’ve made it a point to remember to proactively reach out to those around me — in both my personal and professional life — to show up for them however I can.

All the incredible people who have cheered me on this past year have really driven home the power of what I like to call ‘cheerleading.’

Some were expected (like my mom… thank you, mom). Others have been a total surprise.

For example, you never really expect someone to show up to an event you invited them to on Facebook — especially someone you haven’t seen since high school. But when a friend from the tennis team (along with another Brentwood alum I hardly knew in high school) showed up to support me at a San Francisco book signing, it was the most pleasant of surprises. Afterward, we had dinner and drinks, and it was a very special night.

These women are amazing cheerleaders.

So are Dan and Jay, the two exceptional men I worked for during my days at NYC2012 — the bid committee working to bring the 2012 Summer Olympics to New York City. Dan and Jay hosted a book release event — it was at Dan’s home (which was incredible in and of itself!). In addition to the generosity and thoughtfulness of the event, I was touched by the many people who came out to reconnect and show support. It was a joyful reunion, and Dan and Jay’s above-and-beyond effort to make it happen was so meaningful to me.

It reminded me just how infectious love is — lately, I’ve had a burning desire to do more for others.

Now, I can’t stop thinking about how all these people showed up for me. It reminded me just how infectious love is — lately, I’ve had a burning desire to do more for others. I’ve always prioritized being thoughtful and generous to those around me, but there’s always room for improvement. We can always do more.

Because it’s easy to forget how important it is to be proactive about showing support for loved ones.

We live in our own crazy, self-centered worlds and often forget how important it is — and how much it can mean — to be a cheerleader for those we care about.

Even “good” people can be guilty of this. So many of us are so busy and consumed by work and life that we can turn inward and neglect our relationships. But let’s be honest — there is always time for supporting others. Especially because there are so many simple ways to do it — even small gestures go a long way.

One of my favorite ways to show someone you care about them is a handwritten note. No other form of communication feels as personal and thoughtful. But even just a text at the right moment — the morning of a friend’s first day of a new job, the night before a family member’s cross-country move — can mean so much. Making the time for a phone call is even better, because you can really engage with someone when you can hear their voice.

Regardless of how you reach out, it’s all about letting people know you’re thinking about them, making them feel seen, and letting them know they’re important.

Here are a few examples of times when cheerleading can be especially powerful:

  • When someone is dealing with a personal crisis. Tell them how inspiring and impressive it is that they’re keeping it together — whether it’s how he’s carrying himself or how she’s continuing to perform at work despite dealing with something really difficult.
  • When someone has a big moment of some sort (an event, a presentation, a speech, etc.). Give her your vote of confidence. Tell her she’s going to crush it.
  • To acknowledge that someone has been doing great work. Let him know you see him busting his butt and making moves.
  • When someone has accomplished something meaningful. Let her know you’re proud of her, that it’s a big deal, and remind her that she’s impacting others.
  • Just because! There’s nothing better than checking in with someone and sending love or good vibes just because you’re thinking of them. That’s always a good reason.

Being a cheerleader for someone else will make you feel good, too.

The first thing I did when I got back from a recent trip to San Francisco (despite having a million things to catch up on) was send thank-you packages to people who helped me during my visit. Just knowing the recipient would smile upon opening it made me smile, which made me feel good.

The act of recognizing someone else is grounding, since it takes the focus off our own problems and anxieties. Sometimes, if I’m feeling overwhelmed, taking a break to do something nice for another person is exactly what I need to reset.

Surround yourself with supportive people, and make sure you’re supporting them, too.

It’s so powerful to increase the number of supportive cheerleaders around you while simultaneously eliminating sources of negative energy from your circle.

For example, while the release of my book brought out the best in some of the people around me, it also revealed the weaknesses in some of my relationships. At first, I felt a bit disappointed, even betrayed, when people I’d considered friends didn’t show up (literally or figuratively). But actually, I realized it was a good thing — and a learning experience. It may have been time to appreciate those friendships for what they were and to move on and focus on friendships that are mutually positive and feel good.

The next time something big happens in your life — good or bad — pay attention to who reaches out. Who is truly excited for you when something wonderful happens, and who genuinely feels for you and supports you when the going gets rough? These are the relationships worth feeding.

Think about the way you felt the last time someone surprised you with loving support. How can you share more of that energy with the world? Take a good look at your life and the people in it, and ask yourself how you can be a better cheerleader to those around you.

‘Showing Up’ For The People In Your Life Is Powerful. We Can All Get Better At It was originally published in The Mission on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Author: Amy K Stanton

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