Not So Random Thoughts On: Having (and Being a Part of) a Support System

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Reading Janssen’s blog this morning* was exactly what I needed. The message I took away was:

The Importance of Vulnerability and Power In Asking for Help and Support When It’s Needed.

This lesson came at me from both sides later in the day.

A friend (yes, the friend from the grieving blog) reached out to me today just to say, “Hi,” and “I miss you”. It led to them admiting they were having a tough time and missed my friendship. Keeping in mind that we had agreed to essentially “end our friendship”, I was in a position to:

a.) ignore them and focus on self-preservation—aka I JUST got over my fear of abandonment triggered by you basically asking for space and saying goodbye and me putting all my systems in place to give you that space and continue as a functioning member of society and I don’t wanna feel like that again any time soon, thanks

or

b.) be there for them—aka remember that I said I’m always here and I meant it and I recognize how hard it can be to ask for help and that it is an honor to be there for someone who needs me.

I chose to be there like the friend I have always shown myself to be. Unconditional. In keeping with my boundaries**, I offered my support, while protecting myself from the feeling of needing to fix things. I can’t fix everything for everyone. Ironically, I’ve aways offered to be there for them and they always hit me with something along the lines of how I can’t fix stuff for them. They just want me to be present. They just want to know someone truly cares. They just want to let it out and have a laugh and know they aren’t alone.

That’s what I want, too.

Shortly after, the SAME day, I found myself needing support. I talked with my husband and, in doing so, realized I needed more support.

“Spread your needs around…”

my therapist once said to me. I repeat this to myself when I need reminding to ask for help or reminding that no one person should carry the weight of my support system.

A system has parts. I needed support from some more parts.

I thought about Janssen’s post and reached out to two sisters and a close friend. They all responded with such great support because:

1.) I was clear in expressing to them what I was feeling.
2.) I was clear in expressing what I needed.
3.) I carefully considered who in recent history had shown themselves to be able to support me in the way that I needed for the situation I was experiencing.

*In my Jill Scott voice* “You know what they say: everything ain’t for everybody.”

You can’t ask a plumber to fix your car. I don’t care how good they are at plumbing; you need a mechanic***.

So, I hit up my three “mechanics” and they, plus hubby, got my car running again.

I’m not always good at asking for support. I’m much better at “being the friend I want” to a friend in need while feeling like a burden when I am in need. I get self-conscious and don’t want to say or do the wrong thing or come across as needy or clingy. (Oh, hi, fear of abandonment. Thanks for coming back to visit.)

BUT, I’m slowly but surely taking the opportunity to say, “Hey! I need you,” without fearing the response will be “Too bad.” And it all goes back to those boundaries and recognizing who I can count on and giving them the opportunity to be there for me when a situation arises where they can shine.

I’m grateful to my husband who supported me through some things today. I’m grateful to Janssen for sharing her story and inspiring me in such a tremendously useful way. I’m grateful for my support squad for quickly holding me down. And I’m grateful for my friend who, even through this tough time of separation, reminds me that my support is valued.
________
|*“this morning” was actually 4 days ago.
|**“them” from the the grieving post is different from “he” from the boundaries post.
|***”But, some plumbers can also fix cars!” Yes. We call those plumbers “mechanics”. #multitalented

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