EYC006 Circle of Support

Have you ever wondered why you feel disconnected from your circle of support?  Learn how to reconnect to them in this podcast episode about your Circle of Support.

Show Notes:

How is your support system working out for you?  When it really comes down to it, are the people in your life showing up how you thought they would? We are going to focus on a couple things today… First, we are going to look at who is currently in your life… Then, we are going to look at their strengths.

Interestingly, when we are having a tough time in our lives, we have unspoken expectations from those in our lives.  We sometimes expect certain people to come sit with us and yet, they don’t… and then WE become disappointed or wonder about the quality of the relationship.  We think all sorts of things to fill in the story – Maybe I’m too sad… or Maybe I placed more value on the relationship than they did… or They’re just so busy… or whatever you may be telling yourself.

Download The Who Can Help You handout here.

I’d like you to create a small circle in the middle – this represents you.   Then create 6 lines radiating from the middle like spokes of a wheel.  At the end of each spoke, create another large shape…

Label each of the six shapes: 

  1.  family,
  2. friends, 
  3. work or school, 
  4. neighbors,
  5. community,
  6. and professionals.

Now, write people in your life in the category they belong in.  

Some of you may be looking at this list and thinking… what’s the benefit if these people don’t show up for how I NEED them?  Well, this whole concept became a lot easier when a learned a different way of looking at the people in my life.  Years ago, I sat in on a webinar with Ken Doka. He is published and very knowledgeable about grief.  He talked about different ways people help us.

What’s really important for you to understand is that these people are willing participants in your life… For them, It’s more about what THEY were bringing to the relationship before your struggle, their natural strengths and interests…and LESS about what you silently expect them to do.

When we have unspoken expectations or ask someone to do something that is outside their comfort zone or interest, WE are the ones that become disappointed and let down.  They may appear to step back a bit and that may not even be a truth.  Our perspective is that they are not supportive or present.  However, we didn’t give them a chance to shine in the situation if we were mismatching the type of support we were seeking…

Ken Doka talked about identifying people in our support system into three categories… 

  1. Doers,
  2. Listeners
  3. and Respite or those Fun Folks.

Identify these people on your list.

As you look at your lists, you may have some insight now about your own feelings about the people in your life.  Remember, these people are in your life for a reason.  When someone is clear about what they can or cannot do in your life, they are being honest with themselves with how they can help.  Believe them and recognize the strengths they bring to the relationship.  It’s great if you have people that can be that honest with you.    At the end of the day, if all of this is just too much… you can always simply tell people in your life that you need some additional help and ask how could they help you…  This can be more forward, however, you will certainly know if and when to reach out.

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