A healthy support system is required to make major life changes. Reading up on how to make changes, studying and carefully planning how to execute your plans for change is a great strategy – but it isn’t enough. Just being really tough and trying really hard, unfortunately, doesn’t work.
A healthy support system is the first step in a long line of changes necessary to make all sorts of adjustments in your life – from leaving unhealthy relationships, finding your life’s calling, fighting stress and anxiety, and more. All of this is only possible with a great deal of support.
Think of yourself as a table – the more support systems you have, the more legs your table has to hold it up. A one legged table can take only a single blow before it all falls over. Making major changes can be risky, so we need as many supports to hold us up as we can get. For this we need a healthy support system.
A healthy support system can be the support of healthy friendships, close family, a meaningful significant other, a financially supportive job, and others. These support legs will make your table stronger and will keep you from falling when life gets difficult. If we try something new and we fail, we lose a single leg of our table but the table remains standing on the remaining legs and can be repaired.
I just had a wonderful therapy session with a woman who had been studying hard on how to be more assertive and to start to live a life different than the life that her parents had chosen for her. While she was ready to make changes, she was stricken with fear and anxiety and unable to make the changes she so desperately knew needed to be made. Trouble was, she had no support system of any kind. Standing up to her parents then, without any support to back her up or to keep her table standing, caused great fear and anxiety. Standing up to her parents could possibly mean losing the only semi healthy support that she has going in her life.
Here are some tips for building a healthy support system:
Written by Brad Messenger, LMSW.