Who Are Your Supports?

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the importance of having those routines and habits that keep you on track most of the time, and you can get back to your path when you end up off  due to things like unexpected events or even planned vacations. These can be key to regaining your footing, but there is another important element and that’s the people supports in your life.

When I’m struggling either with a particular problem or decision, or life in general is dragging me down I turn to the people in my life who make up what I think of as my team. Members of my team live near and far, don’t necessarily know each other, and while there is a particular core to this group, other members may change depending on the issue that I need support around.

Little boy and girl standing in a fieldI have certain rules when it comes to my support people and I think these are good guidelines for everyone:

  • I try to make it abundantly clear to them how grateful I am for their support. This means overt expressions of gratitude including a simple, “Thank you so much for being there for me”, as well as the very important role of being there for them when they need my support. Support should come on a two-way street.
  • I share all the good stuff with them. My core support people are also the first people I turn to to share the good stuff happening in my life. Nobody in your support network should only hear about the stuff that sucks.
  • No one person is my be-all support person, including my wife. Putting that kind of pressure on one person wouldn’t be fair to these very important people in my life. Plus, by speaking with multiple people about whatever I’m facing I gain different perspectives to consider.
  • I keep regular contact with them. My core group of people are spread out across Canada and the U.S., and my wife is the only one that I get to see on a regular basis. I make sure that I keep regular contact with all of the others through texts, letters, Skype, and in-person visits whenever possible.

Who makes up your support network will look different for everyone. Sometimes it’s family, but let’s be honest, sometimes family members can be the very stress you need support to deal with. Sometimes your supports may live nearby and you can see them all the time, while others may live far away, but always seem to be there for you. Also, a key support person for you might be a therapist who can provide you with objective support, or a more casual friend who isn’t as close to you or a situation. They should always be somebody you trust.

If you haven’t done so lately, pick up the phone, send a text, or go see the people on your support team and just tell them “thanks.”

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