How many times in your life has someone told you that "you need a good support system"?
The topic will come up with your guidance counselor or teachers when you are younger or your therapist or boss when you are older.
Despite their good intentions, the question often conveys a sense of necessity, as though it is something you have to have in order to feel better, be happy, and live a correct life. This conditional way of thinking is not true, nor is it healthy.
Consider this: a teenager speaks with her guidance counselor about depression that she is experiencing due to family stress and academic pressure. Guidance counselors and therapists will always ask about the child's support system to assess whether or not she has friends, a good relationship with anyone in her family, and to what extent she is comfortable advocating for their support.
A lot of people, however, especially children, will interpret the question as a message of necessity, often because they are used to hearing "you need to make friends" from their parents throughout all of childhood.
Any sense of necessity makes it feel like a demand, which puts even more pressure on the child while they are already experiencing so much other pressure. When kids feel like they do not have a support system but need one, they can feel incompetent and feel even more down about themselves.
A support system is not a NECESSITY, but it is good to have one.
Let me explain.
The objective of last week's post was to guide you to create a support system if you wanted one. It was not meant to pressure you because you need one.
Furthermore, my priority as a coach is to teach you that you always have options.
I have worked with many people who come to me thinking that they are alone and they do not feel like they have any support (Joke's on them because coming to me is recognizing that I am a support). I also know many staunchly independent people who, even after going through a great many hardships growing up, have never "needed" a support system, per se.
Last week's guide to designing your best support system was meant to show you that a support system is always available to you when and if you need one.
Support can look like a lot of things:
strangers in a coffee shop
Support can be anything. Listening to that one song you love is support. Your bed can be considered as much a support as a therapist.
It all depends on the kind of support that works best for you.
What kind of support do you prefer?
Is it an activity?
Is it a person?
How do you know that it has helpful?
Remember, this is your life. You set the criteria.