I have always been one of those people who has tried to do everything myself without relying on others. This was primarily due to my fear of being let down, disappointed or rejected and it left me refusing to let myself be vulnerable and expose myself to any potential pain.
What I couldn’t see at the time was that my own fears were keeping me trapped and leaving me feeling isolated. By not communicating how I was feeling, I was keeping myself separate. I’d created a cage of my own making and my fears of pain and rejection kept me locked within it.
For many people these feelings are normal but if we take an honest look we can see that these fears hold us back from having even richer, deeper and more supportive relationships with those around us. It’s time to ask yourself three questions:
How are you at asking for help?
Can you truly share with those close what’s really going on in your life?
What does the word vulnerable mean to you?
Today I am in a very different place and I wanted to share the steps I took to shift my perspective, in the hope it may help you shift beyond your fears too.
5 ways to get the support you need
1.Recognise and acknowledge that the people around you love you and that whether they can support you or not, this is not a reflection of how they feel about you.
One of the reasons I was so unwilling to share how I was feeling previously was that I was afraid I wouldn’t get the response I wanted, which in my head equated to that person not really caring for me. But real life is complicated! The first step I took was training myself to always acknowledge – and choose to BELIEVE – that no matter what, that person loved me.
Apply it: In those moments of doubt, start remembering all the support, kind words, fun times and laughs you have shared with that friend.
2.People who love and care for you WANT to support you
I have a friend who is super busy and because of that she can only see friends every 2 or 3 months and she has to schedule them into the diary. But, if they ever really need her, she’ll do whatever she can to call them or see them as soon as she can. She’ll make it a priority.
Apply it: People have so many things vying for their attention on a daily basis, so recognise that if you really need someone, they can make you a priority. You just have to do Step 3…
3.Let people know you NEED help
Asking for help is not something many of us do with ease, but it is an essential part of getting the support we need! People are not mind readers (even though we wish they were) and if we want their help and support we have to take responsibility for what we need and TELL THEM.
Apply it: when you are going through something and feeling alone or unsupported, it may be that you’re family and friends don’t actually know you need help. Make sure to reach out for help – it is the action you need to take to connect with people who can help.
4.Be clear about what kind of support you need
Once you’ve shared you’re struggling, the best way to get that support you need is to be super clear about what that support looks like. This may for example, be a phone call when you need it. The simple fact of knowing there is someone at the other end of the phone that you can call if you’re feeling wobbly will help you feel supported and less alone.
Apply it: If there is something you would like support with right now, ask yourself what does this look like in terms of behaviours or actions?
5.Create a support network
Everyone has stuff going on in their lives and this means that sadly they may be too busy to support you in the way you need, even if they might want to. Try not to make this mean something about your relationship or how they feel about you. Remember that they love you – but they just don’t have the time to take on any more than they’ve already got on their plate. That’s OK- it is NO reflection on how they feel about you. (If they never support you, then that’s a whole other topic…) Give yourself the best chance of success when it comes to asking for support by creating multiple sources of support.
Apply it: Consider if you are asking just one person to support you all the time and think about who else you could lean on in times of need? Different people are good at different things too, so recognise people’s strengths and think about asking them for help in that area.