The Will To Support Is The Will To Empower

Sometimes, maybe most of the time, people do not want or need us to do anything more to support them than to demonstrate the willingness to do so.

We are more powerful and more capable than we know, with fear and uncertainty about the limits of our capabilities hardwired into our DNA as an evolutionary survival mechanism to protect us from reaching too far into the dangerous unknown. One way we have learned to bypass these governors of our personal power is to ask for help from the people around us. We do not always need their help, however, ofttimes we only need their demonstration of willingness to give us the courage to do the that which we desire, but also fear.

Support empowers us to do more than we previously thought capable. It amplifies our belief in ourselves and our abilities, quieting our fears, giving us a clearer vision toward our goal, unrestricted by the paralysis that sometimes comes with solitude. Support from others, especially from those whose opinions we value, gives us the leverage we need in order to overcome our internal resistance and to find, within ourselves, a deeper power than we could find on our own.

The funny thing about support, though, is that it does not necessarily require action on the part of the supporter, as it is often the intention to be supportive that transfers power to the supported. In order to be truly empowering, however, the intention must be genuine, authentic, and must be backed with the willingness to act. With this willingness, with this intention, and with this potential for actual support, we can find ourselves able to risk the unimaginable and to achieve the impossible.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.

Artwork by Ana, except where otherwise noted.

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