With a little help from my friends
No man is an island. Apart from a few individuals who cultivate solitude at its highest-level most of us need and want to create a network. There is so much growth and enjoyment to have from connecting with other people. Developing a real support system is crucial to avoid staying stuck in ruts and to move beyond small and big breakdowns. Denying oneself that resource is only another form of self-deprivation.
But honestly, out of your X number of friends on Facebook and other social media, how many do you know really well? Can you count on? And do you truly appreciate? I am not going to get into the whole “Internet is drawing us apart as we cultivate only superficial relationships” story. I just know that it is how I choose to use it that is making it into a remarkable communication tool or a hiding place.
I understand that being self-sufficient is only a myth. Unless I can integrate several lifetimes of savoir-faire and knowledge there is no way on earth I can repair my car, practice surgery on myself, have the knowledge of a lawyer, and grow and hunt for my food. Plus, I prefer to focus on things I enjoy doing than learn whole sets of skills in domains that do not provide me with any pleasure.
There is such great value in having the possibility to pick up the phone to talk or make plans with someone whether it is just to catch up on the latest events, vent the troublesome thoughts or share a good laugh. I tend to forget that in the past when things became difficult. I probably went through both extremes: from always having a plan of some sort to isolating completely. As in every other area of my life, I am finding some balance between social time and “me” time.
When I spring from one activity to another it is just a way for me to avoid dealing with certain issues. I lose track of time or I enter into the world of people pleasing, turning a deaf ear to my own needs. Being in the “over activity” mode just brings me to confusion and exhaustion. On the other hand, when I let myself isolate I stay stuck in negative thoughts so I have learned to pick up the phone.
It used to be very hard for me to accept, or even to admit, that I needed help. I used to think it a sign of weakness. I would feel too vulnerable. And what if this person said “no,” how humiliating! I finally saw that most of it was taking place in my head and in my head only. I am stronger thanks to my network of friends which makes me a happier and more effective human being.
It is also true in the context of the workplace where delegating, assessing people’s strong suits and weaknesses and sharing the effort are essential in order to reach goals. When a team enters state of symbiosis, not only the work atmosphere is more pleasant but also it has a positive impact on productivity.
Let me just add that a support system is not limited to friends and family. Depending on the nature of the issue we are facing it is easier to share it with certain people rather than others. There are support groups to join whether you are in a grieving process, working through painful relationships, struggling with addictions or to develop a professional network. Seeking help with a therapist or moving forward with overwhelming projects with a coach also participates in building a strong support system. When confronted to particularly challenging chapters of my life I found that a combination of most of the above has been essential.
It may take some time to find the most adapted means to bring support in one’s life. We are all different and our needs vary depending on the period of life we are going through. One thing is for sure though is that we all grow from connection. I am so happy when I get to lend a hand to others and participate in them finding what are resources to their wellbeing. Why deny that to the people around me? Nothing feels better than enjoying reciprocity and true fellowship. Today, I feel supported, appreciated and loved. It is in the spirit of the gratitude that I am experiencing that I am putting these words out there. This past year has been so rich in so many ways and the most beautiful gift is that I have a deep sense of belonging just as I am. Thank you to each and every one of you who have been a part of my life. Thank you for being teachers, inspirations, models, hope, fun and love.