“I’ve got you. I got your back! You’ve got this.” These expressions are some of the best we can say to one another to offer support and love. The word “got” implies so much: to have, to hold, to carry. The third expression holds fast to the belief that we can and will go for, move towards and accomplish something. The moments we need someone outside of ourselves to give us these words of encouragement happen every day. Picture the following scenarios:

Running out the door in the morning, already late, to drop off kids and head to work. A loved one, a partner, a neighbor or a friend says to you, “You’ve got this. I’m here for you.”

You share your dreams to try something new with a close friend. It’s a little scary and you’re not sure you can do it. They smile and say, “I’ve got your back. You can do it!”

You text your support person, “I’m losing it today. It’s just too much.” They respond simply, “I’ve got you.”

To hold and support one another is the greatest gift we can give. To receive this gift and to trust it gives us the space to try, to grow and even to stumble.

What keeps us from asking for this gift? Are we like the determined toddler learning to tie his shoes: “I can do it by myself.” Are we fearful of being seen as a burden?

What keeps us from offering this gift? Surely if anyone we love were to ask for help, we would immediately do whatever we could. Not knowing how to support can also keep us from offering. This is where those simple statements come in. We may not have a solution but we all have the ability to let someone know, “You are not alone.”

When we find ourselves without the support we need, this does not reflect poorly on us. Support can come in many forms and often in waves throughout our lives, but that does not diminish its importance. Searching for support does not weaken us either. We must overcome this mindset and learn to say, “I need someone to have my back.”

This is life’s sacred trust. I hope that you are heard, seen, loved and supported. That you have someone to attend to fears and obstacles with patience and kindness. Let’s celebrate your victories, both small and large. Let’s cultivate joy so that it may spread to those in your presence. Let’s find those who will place their hands on your back, gently yet with enough strength so that you know that you can trust that they really are there.