Who Has Your Back?

by Jill

In today’s world of smartphones, social media, and online communities, we so often feel “connected” without actually connecting to anyone in person. Yet, these connections are very real and can serve as great support. The definition of community continues to evolve and morph for many, as we continue to search for a group of likeminded people who really “get us.” As the world continues to offer these virtual ways of connecting, we are learning to connect in different ways all the time and finding the support we really need.

When life is going well, we don’t tend to spend a lot of time thinking about how we need support from others, but sooner or later, a situation will arise that will bring this need to the forefront. Or perhaps, someone else in your life will need this type of support from you. The basic goal of support is understanding how we can help reduce our own stress or the stress of someone else. We want to feel understood and safe to express ourselves without the concern of being judged. Having the ability to reach out to our support systems, we work through these trying times in our lives successfully and with the help of others.

How do you create a strong support system? Where do these people come from? In order to create a strong support system, it is important to take the time to understand what type of support you prefer. Do you like the ability to download all of your thoughts without advice? Do you like to have an interactive conversation? Or do you just want to be around someone that makes you feel safe without talking about the issue at all?

The way we like to be treated when we need support is as we unique as we are. So, take the time to really consider this and it might be helpful to create a list of the people you know and how they tend to offer support. From family and friends to pets, co-workers, neighbors, and others in the community, the options can be endless. Support can also be professional in nature from counselors, support groups, or healthcare providers. Some people prefer the anonymity of speaking to non-friends and family about certain aspects of their lives, so these options can be very beneficial.

When reaching out for support from others, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. So often we assume that others will know what we need, but everyone looks at situations from their unique perspective, which can be very different from our own. If you are looking for a specific response, ask for it. Most people will respond positively to your request, as their hope will be to help you as you need. If the response is not positive, this will at least be helpful for you to understand who to ask for support in the future.

Like most areas of life, it is important to create these support systems prior to being in a situation where you really need them. If you feel like you are lacking the types of people you can really lean on, there are many opportunities to create this community. Take any activities or hobbies you enjoy and there is likely a related Meet-Up group, club, or class you could join. From these Meet-Up groups, Book Clubs, Yoga Classes, you can build your support system with individuals you meet and create relationships with.

At the end of the day, you get to decide who is a part of your support system, so make sure you put some time and thought into what you need and what your support system consists of. You will find yourself in a much better place the next time you need help from a friend.

Guest post by Sonni Nilan, Certified Life Coach specializing in supporting women and mothers.

Previous post:

Next post: