Do you have a support system? When you are making changes in your life, there are days when you’ll feel all alone in this world. Those are the days you’ll be tempted to throw in the towel. And it is for those days that you need a support system in place, a person or a group of people who have your best interests in mind.
Some of us are blessed to be surrounded by friends or family who cheer us on and tell us we can accomplish anything. If they are genuine in both their words and their actions, you will have a higher chance of success. So if you’re keeping your transformation a secret until you “reach your goal,” stop it! Let people who love you know what you’re doing so that they can support you!
But watch out for the fake support that masks sabotage.
That’s right. Even the people who love us the most can unconsciously sabotage our efforts. If you are working on losing weight, what is being served at your family gatherings? Is everyone still showing up with sweet sugary desserts, fat-filled side dishes and fried chicken in a bucket? Granted, you don’t have to eat it, but in the face of all that food is someone secretly hoping you’ll indulge just a little?
They probably don’t do it on purpose, but people fear change, even in someone else. If they watch you be particular about what you eat, it raises in them the guilt that they should also be eating healthier, but fear that they don’t have your will power. So be mindful that as much as they SAY they are supporting you, they are still thinking only of themselves. And don’t buy the phrase “I love you no matter what you look like” as support. That’s an ambivalent statement. While it may be true that the other person has unconditional love for you, it is also a passive way of saying “I’ve seen you go down this road before and I don’t think this time is different.” Thank them for their love, but tell them you need more constructive support from them to help you reach your goal.
The sabotage is more devastating, even when it is subtle, when you are trying to change your feelings of self-worth or reaching for success in a new way. Sabotage comes from their fear that you are moving away from them and will end up leaving them. Someone who has not yet embraced a positive outlook on life cannot see or even imagine how their life could FEEL different if they simply started reading a book that changed the way they think about themselves. They may drop snarky remarks about how you don’t care about them anymore, or say things in search of a compliment from you. They may even verbally attack you! This is not the time to give up on your pursuit, it is the time to see them with fresh eyes and see their fear. In some cases, you will be able to reach out to that person and assure them that your efforts at self-improvement are because you want to be a better friend, daughter, or spouse to them. If you feel like the moment is right, invite them to start on a journey for themselves.
But let’s be honest. Some of us are in a situation where the attacks that drove us to seeking help are coming from the people who are the closest to us. There may not be an opportunity to sit down with them and share why you’re choosing this new path. Maybe you have chosen to improve your life in order to escape a bad situation. Even good friends may not be able to be objective because they have an emotional attachment to the situation and the players in it.
You may need outside help. There are plenty of support groups for every situation under the sun, or perhaps working one on one with a good coach is what you need.
I have used many coaches throughout my life to help be face myself with honesty and who challenge me to step up and away from the place of pain where I tended to stay. Sometimes they are so big that I can only be coached through their books and blogs. Thankfully, there are other people I have worked with who have been more accessible and present in my life.
The key to either relationship is that a coach has a vested interest in seeing you reach your goals. A coach may need to know what your relationship with your spouse and kids is really like, and they will need to know what your daily routine consists of and who you hang out with, just to provide a context for your situation. But a coach has no emotional attachment to those people. We aren’t going to get caught up in protecting the feelings of the other people in your life. A good coach is emotionally invested only in you and your goals and dreams.
Take some time to reflect on your support system. Are the cheerleaders in your life adding to your progress or just making a lot of noise? Do you feel under attack from family or friends every time you try to talk about your journey? If you can’t really tell, I highly encourage you to apply for a free call with me to sort things out. If you are reading these words, then you can rest assured that I have a vested interest in seeing you become the best YOU ever!