Support Will Help Your Well-Being
Support. That word can seem so vague. It seems like a word we see most often as a topic for store greeting cards. As we know, our experiences aren’t usually soothed by reading greeting cards. What would actually bring us comfort? Support. True blue face-to-face connection with another human.
Seems easy enough, right? Ummm, no. This is actually one of the ways in which we struggle the most as women. We’re often too busy, too raw, or haven’t built the networks we need when we’ve hit that wall of being perfectly tired.
Many of us struggle to create solid relationships, because they require vulnerability. We’d like the rules to be that we only need to open up when a trusting friendship is guaranteed. But, sadly, it doesn’t work that way. We slowly build relationships through sharing pieces of ourselves with someone else. If we stay walled up then other people can’t know us.
What’s the big deal about having friends, we’re JUST FINE, right? No, we’re not fine and science has backed the importance of friendship. The Journal of Social Work shared research about how the commitment to the role of friend in aging adults was the strongest predictor for well-being (stronger than income or marital status). The Journal of Adolescent Research found that developing quality new friendships greatly impacted the adjustment of first-year college students to the university environment. Friendships help us navigate new situations, lower our anxiety, and shift our whole perspective on life.
Getting solid support is really important.
Okay, so how do we do that? We’re not kids anymore and making friends as adults can be really hard. I’d recommend starting by figuring out something you love to do. Do you like exercising or going to the library? Maybe you enjoy church or bunko groups? Commit to doing that thing you love every week. Consistency is key here. My guess is that if you keep showing up you’ll encounter like-minded people that may become your friends over time.
When these friends are within your reach it is a matter of opening up slowly…like a garage door. Ha! I know that’s a goofy analogy, but we need to mindfully reveal our lives and hearts to others. It’s leaning into a conversation instead falling into it and sharing too much (we call this a vulnerability hangover). The most important part, however, is that you do share a part of yourself. Maybe you can’t see it right now, but you’re so worth knowing. You have something special within you that only you can give.
Take this opportunity to begin building up your support system. You can take your time and enjoy the process. You’re on your way to improving your well-being one friendship at a time.
©2018 Jennifer Padilla-Burger, LMFT. All rights reserved.