There's nothing quite like the feeling of having support. It's nice to know that when we reach out for a little backup, that someone will be there to give us a boost. However, let's face the facts...we live in the real world, and things don't always happen in the ways that gives us the warm and fuzzies.
I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer here, but I'm just telling it like it is, from my experience. Support doesn't always magically appear when we need it, and many times you won't find it in the places you expected.
We're all different, and though some of us are more independent and less people-focused, we all need support. It is a human desire, there's nothing wrong with it. As much as we'd all like to think of ourselves as a version of Bear Grylls (if we needed to be right?), we're not living in the plot of Lost. We are not on deserted islands or living in secluded cabins, and there's no reason why we shouldn't seek out help or support when we need it. If we're lucky, we may even have people in our lives who just provide it for us automatically, though things are rarely that easy.
However, support is a tricky fellow, and it won't be too long until he has morphed into expectation. That's what I want to address.
Problems arise when we expect support from other people. Of course we've addressed that it's nice and sometimes necessary, but to what degree should other people give us support? Is anyone really obligated to give it? What about friends/family? If they don't give you the amount of support you think they should, are the failing at their job or does that just mean you have work left to do?
These are all important questions to examine when you find yourself feeling like you're missing any kind of support that you think you should be getting. The truth is, if we seek support outside ourselves we are automatically giving over our power to others. Even if they are friends and family, and we value their help or opinion, what difference does it make if they "support" you?
What is truly needed is for us to learn to provide our own internal support. If we create an internal foundation of trust and respect with ourselves, we won't need to want it, look for it, or expect it from other people. It is a place inside of us where we feel some kind of lack where this need originates, and that's the place we want to nurture.
It may be that you're making or announcing a big life decision and you're relieved to find your family supports you. On the other hand, you may hear voices of disapproval. Regardless of the outcome, what they say, or how you feel about it, there is still a dependence and reliance on the opinion of others and the perception of their approval or support.
To get beneath it to the where the original need began, ask yourself, "Why is it so important that I receive this validation from this person?" See how deeply you can go. Keep asking yourself questions like "What would happen if I never got this support...from anyone?" The answer is where your journey to self-reliance begins.
Of course it's natural to feel hurt or disappointed if you don't get the support that you're seeking, or more accurately expecting, but the key is to keep the responsibility on yourself and instead of blaming the other person (giving away your power again) find the ways in which you can support and nurture yourself moving forward. Heal the wound that was created so long ago, and become your own, best parent. You can do it!
The more intricately and deeply you build your foundation of internal support, the less you will need it from others and the less you fill yourself expecting. Conversely, the new and deeply rooted feeling that you will create will provide a refuge of support for others who are in need. Once that happens of course you will probably see support coming in from all directions, because what you seek is what will allude you. Always. It is what you open to and accept that will flow generously in your direction. However, that's probably a topic for another day.
If it helps, we support you!
*The tree image we used actually has an interesting background, which is worth a read if you're intrigued by the metaphor behind it. The photograph's owner provides some information here, and you can find out a little bit more about the Manido Gizhigans or Spirit Little Cedar Tree here and here.
A snippet from The North Shore: A Four Season Guide to Minnesota's Favorite Destination by Shawn Perich on the tree:
"..The weatherworn cedar stands alone on the rocky shore of Hat Point. Its roots grip the rock like aged fingers, drawing sustenance from an invisible source. It grows so close to the water that you can only wonder how it has been able to withstand the lake's ferocity. Yet it has done so for at least four hundred years..."