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Column: Selective support can sabotage relationships

By Mary Mone
Online Editor

In the words of Marilyn Monroe, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.” I have been thinking about the contents of this quote a lot recently. Normally, it is said in some weird way on Facebook by a girl who probably, ironically, isn’t at her best. I think it’s a way of expressing a very particular emotion that not a lot of people talk about.
Each of us knows someone who struggles but works extremely hard to make ends meet, whether that be with their time, their money or their goals. They are often labeled as “too busy” or “missing in action” by those around them.
I don’t know exactly what to call this emotion, but it is something like feeling discouraged after receiving selective support. Many are happy to support someone who has accomplished great things, but when it comes to supporting someone who is staying up late, waking up early, working long hours and having a hard time being present in all facets of their life at once, they are put in this weird box of non-accomplishment or unimportance.
Goals will fade and many may start to feel like their aspirations are unreachable if they are constantly surrounded by non-support. According to Dr. Diana Raab on psychologytoday.com, “We cannot underestimate the importance of surrounding ourselves with positive thinkers and good relationships, living in a thriving environment, embracing each day, and working on yourself by understanding what brings you joy, what makes your heart sing, and what emotional triggers set you down a negative or unhealthy path.”
So yes, even though the Marilyn Monroe quote can most often make us uncomfortable, I think it has some truth to it. If I can’t share my struggle with someone, I don’t necessarily wish to share my success with them. Struggle creates character, and it’s not fair to only support someone who has completed the goal, finished the product or aced the test.
Jim Stovall is a bestselling author who has insight into struggle that I think is extremely valuable. “Struggles often serve to release the wisdom, patience and strength we all possess but too seldom demonstrate,” Stovall said.
So, instead of labeling a person as “too busy” or “missing in action” just because they don’t have time to do everything at once, let’s tell them that we are proud of them for putting in hard work and being dedicated to their goals. Let’s show them they deserve the praise through the struggle.

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