As a young woman I felt I was responsible for everything and needed to handle everything all by myself, but over the years I have gained a deep appreciation for the importance of gathering support and the critical part that support plays in our blueprint for wellness. We need each other, and we need help. Today I had my last physical from the doctor who saw me through five of my seven pregnancies and a miscarriage. He is retiring, and some of my heart goes with him. I have been reflecting on the support he was to me through some of the most difficult times of my life and realizing how much I needed him. So here are some ideas about people I believe we should be gathering into our support networks. We may need to do some “shopping” to find the right fit, but when we do they can be such a great blessing in our efforts to foster well being in our lives.
Top 10 Sources of Support
- Family. They say you can’t pick your relatives, and this is true. For that reason, families gather together all kinds of people coming from the same DNA and family background. This can be good or bad—usually there is some of both. Did I mention shopping? There may be some relatives who suck the life out of you and manipulate and take advantage of you. It happens. You don’t need to spend a lot of time with them—except at weddings and funerals and maybe the occasional holiday dinner. However, there are probably some of those relatives who are understanding and caring and supportive, and often they can understand in a way that nobody else can. Take the time to foster those supportive family relationships.
- Friends. We all need those friends who will listen when you need to talk, give you a hug when you feel alone, and make you laugh when you want to cry. It can be tricky finding and keeping such good friends, but when you do, the support they can give is phenomenal.
- Doctors. I will miss my doctor. I know I was fortunate and that most people are not blessed with this sort of a long term relationship with their primary care physician, but if you can find such care, do. I suppose I should shop for a young doctor to take his place—one that can take me into old age and death before he retires.
- Therapists. My therapist has been the voice of truth and reason in a world that made no sense and that was filled with deception. I truly do not know what I would have done without his sage wisdom and advice. Again, I know I have been fortunate to find someone who has both empathy and professional expertise. I came to him in my deepest vulnerability and pain, and he helped me put my heart back together again. When I first went to see him over thirty years ago, there was a deep stigma attached to my actions. My husband was angry with me, and my parents were upset with me—how could I do such a thing? I believe much of that stigma has faded. Yay! We believe people who are injured should seek medical advice in their healing. People who have injured hearts and souls need professional help just as much, if not more so. The body has its own healing mechanisms, but the soul can be injured so deeply that professional help is required to begin the healing process.
- Financial Planners, CPAs, etc. Money management is important. So much of our ability to move and do according to our desires depends on how our money is managed. So much of having resources to take care of our health and well-being depends on our financial resources. The other day I cornered my son to pay his portion of the phone bill. As he gave me the money he said, “It’s only money.” Well, no, I do not believe there is any “only” about it. Several years ago I attended a fitness convention where an economist was the keynote speaker. His thesis was that physical fitness would soon be the “iron curtain of opportunity.” He suggested that those who have money will have more resources to buy better food, get gym memberships and personal training, etc., which, in turn will help them be more productive and capable of earning more money. The reverse would be true for those without resources. Money matters—and so does paying our taxes. I used to do my own taxes, but as my financial situation became more complicated, it became apparent that I needed help. Finding people you can trust to help with financial planning and taxes is critical. There is just way too much fine print in the world.
- Babysitters. I have often reflected that if I had life to do over again, the one thing I would change is that I would hire more babysitters. Being on the verge of exhaustion for days, weeks, months, and/or years really doesn’t do anybody any good. Get a little help and get some rest. There is no area where trust is more important, but I believe persistent shopping for this important help will bear fruit.
- Teachers. We can’t know everything, so we need to listen to people who know more than us. If we don’t understand how to do something, if we don’t know what direction to take or what choice to make, if we want to improve our skills or abilities or just get some fresh ideas, find a good teacher. I have blogged about this before. It is critical that we find good teachers.
- Books. Or maybe I should say “media” as so much information is now digital instead of on paper. If you are reading this, you are a seeker who is looking for more information about how to promote your own wellness. Good for you! I think we still need real people to talk to, but our digital community can also give us support.
- Church or Faith Family. My church family is important to me. They give me opportunities to serve and faith to lean on. Life has its twists and turns where sometimes only faith will see us through. Just sitting with someone who shares our faith can be strengthening in times of trial and disappointment.
- God. Pray.
So here are my TOP TEN. Do you have other support networks that have been important to you in your quest for health and well-being? How have they strengthened you and taught you? How has their support brought more well-being into your life? I would love to hear about them. Please share.