We need support all the time, but when we are embarking on creating some great change in our life like the ones we talk about on show today, we need that support like a lifeline. Now, when I say “healthy support” I mean a few folks who are working on themselves too, value change and growth, are not shaming or toxic and have decent enough boundaries to let you do you. They also aren’t afraid to be honest. I also think there are some very specific things we need from said support in order for it to be truly helpful:
We Need Encouragement When We Are Anxious or Frustrated. Whenever we embark on something new, we are embracing unknown outcomes, and this can feel like a very vulnerable time, because it is. We are leaving the comfort of our box we are outgrowing and if we struggle to trust ourselves and therefore our decisions, we need the support. Especially when we might begin second guessing ourselves when it doesn’t go perfectly or happen as quickly as we’d like. Maybe it’s hard to see the finish line, or setbacks have created doubt. Our support system can remind us of why we are doing this, and the cost of not doing this, so we can get back into the conscious decision-making that got us here. I think this is actually helping us get out of our Fight-or-Flight-or-Freeze reptilian brain response to keep us safe, and back into our thinking brain that can be more logical and choice-based. This is where empowerment is, folks.
We Need Loving Accountability That Won’t Want Us to Self-Sabotage. Even if things are going well, the problem may not come from out there but from ourselves. We can find a million ways to self-sabotage, either overtly by just not doing something or dropping the ball, or covertly and insidiously. This may take a bit of detective work, to figure out if we really need to stop our momentum and focus elsewhere because “people need me” or do a half-baked job at something and thus “ensure failure”. Or maybe loved ones are getting squirrely around us changing and can create mini tornadoes out of their own chaos we can get sucked into. Remember we are choosing every moment, everything we focus on, and everything we do and don’t do. Having outside accountability means folks will lovingly confront us and help us figure out what’s going on. In other words, sometimes we need to hear “Hey do you really need to stop doing good things for you because he’s pissed you’re doing this?” They can bring us back to our original intentions.
The Family Mirroring Perhaps We Did Not Get. In a perfect world, our family provided (and still provide) loving support and healthy mirroring of our gifts, talents, wishes and needs so we felt grounded, secure, loved and hell- not crazy! If we grew up with a family who was afraid of growth, change, or success for us we may instead have heard shaming messages about ourselves or so much negativity and fear – that we have distorted beliefs about what is possible. These wounds mean today we need even more support from our network than the next guy, because going for something new will most likely trigger these fears. We need the feedback that we are doing the right thing and that we can keep going. That they will not abandon us if we fail…or succeed.
We Need the Connection to Feel Like We are Not Alone. Again, whenever we step out into the great unknown we are feeling vulnerable, unsure and maybe even anxious. We are letting go of the security of the old us, old familiar behavior patterns and perceived outcomes. Having the need (not a want – a need!) of belongingness helps us feel more secure and not as alone and fragile as we shed old things and embrace the new. Over the years I would witness this as I would work with people individually and see slow growth, yet two weeks into the group I placed them in, and they would take off like a rocket! My theory is that the group (the family) gave them that belongingness and safety I alone could not provide.
So the moral of the story is: no one can do this alone. We need love, encouragement, and the push to get out there. More importantly to keep going when the going gets tough. And most importantly, we need them to be a safe home base to be there always and to remind us of we really are when we forget ?