Imagine I take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns. On the one side I list the 10 stupidest decisions I’ve ever made and on the other side I list the 10 best decisions I’ve ever made. I can tell you right now that there would be a striking difference in how I made the choices on each side of the sheet. The regrettable decisions of my life have been made without much input and conversation from others. For instance I chose my college and major mostly on my own, and those were both decisions I ended up changing. Twice.
On the other hand I spoke with nearly everyone on the planet before deciding to propose to my wife. I sought out and took into account input from our parents, siblings, and friends. I aired my fear and excitement and got the feedback that helped me see the situation clearly. It scared me half to death to commit, but I allowed myself to see the situation more accurately by synthesizing my own perspective with the perspectives of others.
Support – it’s something we all need. Those of you who are familiar to the blog know that I’m big on the idea of people needing other people. Isn’t it interesting how easy it is to think we can or should be able to make it on our own? For me it’s very tempting to rationalize doing things the easy way or the way I want to by thinking “I should be able to do this on my own” or “What will I gain from getting someone else’s perspective?”
If I stopped and asked myself if I should go it alone or seek support, it’s an obvious answer given the two choices. “A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise.” – Proverbs 12:15. Still, there are times that I find my way right in my own eyes and I believe I know best for myself. Looking back on situations that blew up in my face, they generally fall into this category.
Here are some considerations for finding healthy support that’s going to help you live life at your best:
What support is…
- Being challenged to be a better person even if it means doing something you don’t want to do.
- Hearing the honest opinion of another that is independent of what you want to hear
- Another person investing in you and holding you to a higher vision of life
What support isn’t…
- Blind validation of thoughts, judgments, and feelings
- Having someone tell you what you want to hear
- Advice or suggestions without personal investment
Take a moment and think about what your tendencies are around seeking and giving support. Do you avoid it? Do you seek it out more than others? What do you think you’re trying to get out of it? We’re all bringing our baggage to the table whenever we interact with others in a meaningful way. It’s worth taking an honest inventory to question.