3 ways to build emotional support
My last blog post (check it out here) was all about what to do when you feel unneeded.
One of my recommendations toward combating the sadness that comes with feeling unneeded was to create moments of happiness in your life. In yesterday’s email, I provided you with a website to check out (www.meetup.com) where you can find interest groups and activities for practically any hobby under the sun.
Another one of my recommendations was to establish emotional support. Here is the outline for the first step I’ve taken toward building emotional support in my own life:
1) You have to get clear on your needs and on what you want. I knew I wanted to feel more supported, but I hadn’t given much thought to what that looked like, or what it felt like. So I started to ask myself: How do I want to be supported by others? What does that support look like? What do I need to experience in order to feel supported? Don’t skip these questions! If you don’t get clear on your needs/wants, you’ll never attain the feelings you’re after because you’ll either chase after any ol’ feeling only to be let down, or you’ll already have what you want in your life but you’ll be blind to it.
Interestingly enough, this is what happened to me! When I really asked myself what support would look like for me, this is what I came up with:
*loved ones being excited for me and celebrating with me when I accomplish something important to me
*sharing pictures or articles with friends via email, text, or social media because we know it would make the other laugh
*stimulating discussions where I have the freedom to air out my thoughts and listen to the thoughts of others so that I can grow in my self-awareness and get the wheels in my head turning
The funny thing? I was already doing these things in my relationships! For instance, I have a friend with whom I exchange long emails about many deep thoughts that come to mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s about a TV show villain, characters from our own writing, or bigger concepts such as love, life, and faith!
The conversations are always mentally invigorating to me because I love introspection (it’s one of my strengths) and this gives me an opportunity to go into my own thoughts. I also derive a sense of support from it – but I didn’t realize this until I got clear on what support looked like to me.
Same thing with sharing anecdotes with friends, whether through Twitter or Facebook or some other messaging app. I never realized how much I enjoyed it when someone sent me an article or picture that reminded them of me because they knew it’d make me laugh. And vice versa! I apparently love sending someone something, and then having them laugh about it. It’s like we share the same happiness in that moment.
Once I was clear on what support looked like to me, I realized I was more supported than I’d initially thought! So – what does support look like to you? What actions from others would make you feel supported? How would it feel like to you in that moment? Get as clear as you can!
2) Then, give if you want to get. You can’t just leave it at that. What goes around comes around. Once I realized what made me feel supported, I started to send the same kind of support I wanted to experience out to others.
For instance, let’s say you’d like a friend to call you once in a while just to say hello. But you’ve been waiting by the phone and have heard nothing but silence. Well, why not be the first one to make the call? Why not be the first one to send the greeting card? Why not be the first one to send the email? As the old adage goes, you reap what you sow. But remember: don’t do it with the expectation of getting it back – do it out of love, because you want that person to feel loved and thought of in that moment.
3) Finally, get in the right head space. There were plenty of times when, despite doing the above two things, I still worried that nothing would change and that I would still feel miserable. But I learned to catch my thoughts as soon as they entered my head and I replaced them with something positive instead: Yes, things can change. Things will change. I deserve to experience this kind of love and support and I will. Whatever your mantra of choice, keep it on hand to fend off the negativity.
Then, start to visualize yourself receiving the kind of support you want. Every day, I practice yoga and then I pray, meditate, and do something called creative visualization where I basically visualize all the things I’d like to manifest into reality (finishing a novel, for instance). In the case of support, I close my eyes and I visualize receiving support (an email from a friend, a funny Tweet, someone’s enthusiasm for my book, etc). I focus on what it would feel like to receive each of those things and I let the feeling magnify inside me. By the time I’m done meditating, I feel so empowered and ready for an awesome day!
So if you’re ready to start cultivating more emotional support in your life, start with clarity on what you want and need, start giving out the type of support you’d like to receive, and then start visualizing yourself receiving that support in return. And whenever you doubt things will change, remind yourself that love is a powerful force, and that you’re a magnet for it ;0)