(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used Grammarly to help. If you see any mistakes, forgive me I’m only human. And I am not perfect. Thanks for reading!)
Someone I know has been dealing with a recent traumatic event in their life. This person has been in therapy to seek help on how to deal with what happened. And they also told me that they have been talking to friends for support as well. Even though they have reached out to different people, they told me that they don’t feel fully supported. The therapist told them that she didn’t think they would ever be able to have a relationship again because of what happened. And slowly, one by one, the friends have sort of drifted off in reaching out. Let’s start with the therapist……If you ever have a licensed therapist tell you some negative bullshit as above: GET A NEW THERAPIST. As for the friends…..Sometimes that happens. People go on with their day to day lives and forget to reach out. That or they are busy dealing with drama in their own lives. To put it simply, those around you may not always be there for you.
That’s when you have to learn to be your own support system. Now, this is by no stretch of the measure an easy feat. It took me years to learn this lesson for myself. Yes, I had a few family members and friends who were there to lend a helping hand. And other times to give words of encouragement or a listening ear. But when they weren’t readily available, I had to learn to be there and do those things for myself. I grew up in a single parent home with a parent that was really never emotionally available. I was super close with my grandma growing up, so there was someone giving me that emotional love and support I needed. And that was fine for the time. But as I grew up (and started seeing examples of my friend’s relationship with their parents) I realized that wasn’t enough. I wanted, needed and craved that sort of attention from just one person. And they just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) give me that. So what was I left to do?
I learned that if I was going to make it in this life, not only did I have to learn to trust others in their support, but I had to be MY BIGGEST SUPPORT SYSTEM. What that meant for me was if I wanted to do or try something, I had to learn to talk myself up. If I was feeling down about something in my life, I had to find a way to work through it. I started writing. I have kept a diary (I call it a journal now that I’m adult, Lol) since the age of about 14. In there, I can be whoever I want. I can say whatever I want about whatever I wanted. It’s a judgment-free zone. It’s a place for my eyes, emotions, thoughts, and opinions only. It’s a place where I can work out my issues in a healthy way. It’s also the place where I can let go of negative energy and replace with more positive energy. When I feel like someone is putting me down (like my parent used to do a lot) I would write in the journal how I felt about that. And I would write how what they said was completely wrong and inaccurate. Doing this over time allowed me to build my self-confidence and support muscles. I learned to stand on my own two feet because I wouldn’t always have someone there to hold my hand. I found my inner strength and more importantly my inner peace. If that meant that I didn’t talk to certain people anymore, then so be it. If that meant that I had to spend more time alone to work through my own shit, then so be it. If that meant that I would limit the number of interactions with my parent, then so be it. And let me tell you the last one is a doozy when you live in the same house, but it can be done.
Becoming your biggest support system won’t happen overnight. It takes a bit of time and that time varies from person to person. Step by step, little by little. You just have to figure out how that would work best for you. Even though I’ve learned to become my biggest support system, it’s still a practice I work on daily. Some days I still struggle and may need to lean on those around me who care. And other times they are not around, so I have to lift myself up. Sometimes you may not have access to a support system, so learning to be your own is even more important. If you find others that give you the support you need, that’s great! But let them be your back up. You have to be your own cheerleader, shoulder to cry on, positive person, and most importantly your own best friend. Because no one is going to look out for you and love you as much as you would do for yourself.