How Can I Get Support?

In this blog post, I answer a question about finding support.

Here’s the question I received:

Sometimes I feel like the whole world’s against me and no one’s on my side. How can I get some support?

And my response:

Ah, I know the feeling. For me, it’s like being crammed into a dark corner, and I raise my fists up in defensiveness. What is it like for you?

I love that you’ve recognized your need for support. Once you’ve reached out and received some support, the feeling that no one is on your side will start fading. Before exploring support, though, I want to ask a bit about “the whole world” being against you.

Is it true?

That’s one of my favourite Byron Katie questions. Whenever we notice ourselves framing things in absolutes (“the whole world’s against me”, “no one’s on my side”), it’s a clue that our thinking has taken a field trip into a world of fixed, unchangeable, absolutist beliefs. So I invite you to slow down and ask yourself, “Is it true?”

Perhaps you can think of someone who isn’t against you: maybe it’s the grocery cashier who helped pack your bags, or the bus driver who stopped to let you off, or someone who gave you a hug when you got home. In any way, little or big, can you find examples from this week of people who weren’t against you?

I know you can. And as you find those examples, your mind will start loosening its grip on the belief that it’s you against the world. And once that belief has been loosened up just a little, you can open up to exploring support.

What does support look like to you?

Support looks different to different people. What’s the type of support you need?

Some people, I’ve learned, feel supported when someone checks in with them regularly to ask how they are. Some people feel supported when they take “me-time” and go to a yoga class, or listen to music, or take a walk. Some people feel supported when they have a list of four great people on their babysitting roster.

What’s the type of support you’re yearning for?

Jot down (or doodle!) what support looks like for you.

  • How does it feel when you’re supported?
  • What do you notice around you?
  • What do you believe when you’re supported?
  • What can you count on when you’re supported?
  • What changes for you when you get support?

Get Specific

I invite you to list five to ten things that would help you feel supported.

  • Try to make these things tangible (e.g. “Jane takes out the garbage”) rather than abstract (“Jane helps out more around the house”).
  • And try to make these things statements of what you want to have happen (e.g. “Joe makes dinner on Monday”) rather than naming what you want to stop/change (e.g. “Joe stops eating all the leftovers I was going to use for my lunches this week” — that explains what you want to have stop, but not what you want to have happen instead).

Ask

I think it’s a tragedy that sometimes the people closest to us miss out on supporting us, because they don’t understand what support looks like for us. Often, they don’t understand because we’re unclear on it ourselves, or we’ve never taken the time to tell them what we need.

Do the people close to you know about your personal definition of support? Do they know you’re needing support right now?

I invite you to make the ask. I invite you to step forward, knowing what it is you need and want, and to make a specific request from someone near you for their support.

If this idea feels too daunting right now, start with something that doesn’t feel intimidating or overwhelming for you. For example, get the physical sensation of support by sitting with your back leaning against a wall, or feel supported lying in a hot bath or floating in a swimming pool. Ask someone to give you a call this week just to ask how you are. Tell someone, “I know I need support, but I’m scared / uncomfortable / reluctant / worried about asking for it.” As you make yourself vulnerable in this way, the people you’re reaching out to will see your sincere need for support, and see that you are inviting them in to help you.

It’s beautiful that you’re asking for their help. It’s beautiful that you are opening up to your honest, human, moving need: to feel supported. It’s my wish that as you learn what support you need, and how to reach out for it, that you become a role model to others around you who feel the same way.

Warmly,

Laura

Laura McGrath, CPCC, is a Toronto-based co-active life coach who helps smart people to live from their hearts. Let's talk! You can subscribe to Ready for Change news to receive thoughtful notes on personal growth, and you can contact Laura to find out if coaching is right for you.

Comments

  1. Arlene Clark says:

    Beautifully said, and a very timely reminder for me. Thank you.