Friday, December 11, 2009

Create a network of support

It seems I have been talking a lot this week about not giving up, but I am not the only one. Over at wise bread I was reading an article by Sarah Winfrey on just that topic and it got me thinking about how we so often shoulder the troubles in our life alone. I know this especially true for me, I do not so much suffer from a fear of failing as a fear of other people seeing me fail. When things get rough in my life I don't let on and try to just keep the surface calm so no one will see the turbulence bellow.

This is not the right way to deal with hardships and troubles. The energy and effort we put in to looking like everything is fine just drains the energy we have to actual fix the problem. When we keep our problems to our selves, no matter how good we are at it our close friends and family will see that something is wrong. By not sharing our burdens with them we shut them out and cause them pain even if they are not aware of it on a conscious level.

When trouble comes calling we need to realize that we do have a support network in place. There are people who care about us and will most likely help us in any way they can. When a friend of ours listens to our problem and tells us they know we can handle it or that we will get through this together we become stronger. The knowledge that someone else has faith in us even when we doubt ourselves can be enough to keep us going and not to give up hope.

So how do we develop the network of support in our lives?

The most powerful way is to be there for others. Is there someone you care about that is going through some hard times? Let them know you are willing to listen. When we show we are there to listen and help we create a stronger bond with those around us and they will naturally become more concerned with our own well being.

Don't be afraid to show the pain. We are confronted every day with the question how are you? We get it at the grocery store, we get it from friends: we here all the time. So often we just respond without thinking and say fine, doing good, or OK. sometimes we need to be honest about how we feel, now I am not saying you should heap your problems on the waiter when you go out for dinner tonight but when a friends asks how are you doing give them an honest answer, and expect one in return. I used to work with a young lady who took this idea very seriously. When people came to work she would always ask them "how are you doing?" She would watch as they answered and if she did not believe there fine or OK, she would ask again "how are you really doing?" She got a lot of people to open up and I suspect that many shifts ran smother because of that one question.

The other important element of a network of support is to share the good times as well. When we have a victory in our lives and we want to celebrate it. This is the time to bring along those people you love and care about. When all we talk about is the hardship we are going through that weakens the bonds of friendship as much as only sharing a glossy, superficial version of our lives with them. We have to do more than just bring our baggage when we talk to our friends, we need to take them on the cruise with us as well.

So remember you are not going through your troubles alone. There are people out there who care about you and want the best for you. Help when you can and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. As always I welcome your thoughts in the comments section and if you know someone who needs to hear what I am saying send them a link. Have a great day and a wonderful weekend.


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