One of the first things I learned at the start of my recovery process was the importance of a support system. My therapist would say to me weekly, “Lean on your supports.” When I first got separated my support group was pretty small. I was ashamed of what my life had become. I was trying to protect myself and my marriage from judgement (people are harsh). I didn’t know who to trust and who was safe.
I began to attend a 12-step meeting which provided me a safe place to air all my shame and regret. Slowly, God began to bring people to me that, with my growing clarity I was able to discern wanted to support me without opinions or judgements. It was a process. Some people proved safe. Some did not. I had to flex my relationship muscles to practice not oversharing with those who could not be trusted. The Bible says, “Don’t throw your pearls to the pigs.”
I learned not everyone is emotionally capable of giving unbiased support. I lost some friends, but God always brought new ones. In some cases he brought old ones out of nowhere.
I cannot stress how crucial it is. Having a solid friend group is EVERYTHING.
The voice in our head is loud. It usually doesn’t even know what it’s talking about. When you don’t know what to do or you’re struggling with your stinking thinking, your friends can point you to God. Your friends can remind you who you are. Your friends may have experience or knowledge in areas that you don’t. The voice in my head used to say “Why didn’t you make a better decision?” Then I realized, if I had known better, I would have done better.
Now when I don’t know what to do, I ask. I lean on my supports. I am surrounded by some ridiculously smart and emotionally intelligent people. When I am weak, they are strong. When I am confused, they offer clarity. When I am beating myself up(no need for you to do it), they stop me and disarm my weapons.
There’s an old adage that says, “You can’t soar with the eagles, if you’re surrounded by a bunch of turkeys!”. I don’t want to be the smartest person in my friend group. If I am, I need to find new friends. Also, if you’re surrounded by people who ‘yes’ you to death, that’s probably a bad idea too.
I had some church leaders ask me a while back, “Do you have people in your life who can tell you NO?”… That’s a multi-faceted question. It means to me, can the people in your life be honest with you? Or have you created walls that keep them out. Are you safe? Can people be real around you? Are you accountable?
I do not believe we were meant to do this life alone. As iron sharpens iron, it is good people in our life that challenge us to grow and become better. If you find yourself alone and you desire to have a legitimate support system I would encourage you to put yourself out there. Meaning, be vulnerable. Share your own story. Ask for help. Seek help. Don’t be judgy when people share with you. Ask real questions and shut up long enough to hear the answers. Quit being a know-it-all. Stop thinking that people are attracted to perfection, they’re not. Practice authenticity.
Do you make yourself available to outside voices in your life?
We are better together. I believe in you.