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The Difference Between Moral Support And Emotional Support

The difference between moral support and emotional support

Humans are social beings, and on various occasions, we show love and support to others; and are given in return. Among the different types of support we offer to one another are emotional and moral support. Emotional and moral support are two important forms of intangible support we humans give, but often, we mistake or confuse one for the other.

If you do give emotional or moral support, but cannot differentiate one from the other, no harm has been done. But trying to differentiate both will help you get a better grasp and understanding of the type of support you give. 

Emotional support is one of the four types of social support. Social support is a physical and emotional comfort given to us by friends, family, colleagues, and people around us – it’s a very important function of our social relationships. Social support is of four types: Emotional, Instrumental, Informational, and Appraisal.


Difference between moral and emotional support


What is Emotional Support?

Emotional support is one of the basic needs of every human, and it involves showing compassion, empathy, and genuine concern for others. Adding to that, it’s an expression of love, trust, and care. It can be expressed in different forms, such as physical comfort like hugs, pats on the back, and also listening and empathizing with others. Most times, emotional support is given by close friends and family (people in your close social circle). Also, people can make animals a source of emotional support; these are known as emotional support animals (ESAs).

What is Moral Support?

On the other hand, moral support is support for the actions and principle of what someone is doing – it’s an act of helping, offered given by showing love, encouragement, and letting people know someone cares and supports them. When providing moral support, you may not be able to help a person physically or directly, but you believe and defend their actions. You display this by advocating for them and encouraging them in whatever crisis or unhealthy state of being they may be in.

So far, I have tried to give a little explanation of moral and emotional support. You’re not alone trying to figure out where to draw the line between both of these supports. Besides, how do you tell the difference when you call someone and tell them you care and are thinking about them? Well, think of it this way, when you offer moral support, you are sympathetic towards another person’s situation. When you give emotional support, you are being sympathetic and showing empathy towards another person’s feelings in an intimate way. Emotional support is borne out of real and authentic relationships with people, while moral support could come from close friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers.

There are different ways to give emotional and moral support. You could give emotional support by giving small gifts, understanding the other person’s feelings, speaking in a loving tone, e.t.c. and when it comes to moral support, simply believing in the work of a person, group or a positive cause, can be a very little contribution that adds up. When you take other steps such as letting them know you support them, or speaking and advocating for them, it makes a significant impact

Though despite being different, there are some traits and elements they both share. And one of the most important is being a good listener. If you are to strengthen a relationship to give moral support, people must feel they are significant to you, and one of the most robust ways to tell them that they are is to demonstrate excellent listening skills. Also, when giving emotional support to a loved one, you have to be a good listener, by doing this you show the person you truly care and also gain a better understanding of how they feel – only by listening can you get a deeper sense of someone’s deep feelings.  

Humans provide emotional and moral support to one another, and they both help in dealing with stress, depression, mental illness, and more. A life defined by a lack of emotional and moral support can lead to an incredibly lonely experience. The truth is we all need people who we can depend on during the good and bad times. Emotional and moral support are two of such supports we all need at different times in our lives. 

Read how to navigate through tough times in life


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