Updated: Aug 17
Our family and friends play an important role in our life. They share our victories and defeats. They cheer us on when we’re struggling and congratulate us when we succeed.
At least that’s what we hope.
But what happens when our reality doesn't quite fit the expected 'societal norm' we are led to believe on how close relationships are supposed to be as for many of us they are usually far more complicated an d in too many cases virtually non-existent.
It is completely natural to want more validation and support from your loved ones, although even when our friends and family are on our side, it’s easy for misunderstandings to rise. To prevent or stop them from occurring try these suggestions for forging stronger connections with the friends and family support you can depend on.
Numerous studies show that strong social support enhances brain function and can help protect you from heart disease, depression, and other serious conditions. Work on deepening and extending your connections. Read on to find out how to strengthen your trusted support group..
1. Keep from making assumptions. Resist the urge to take it personally, even if you feel rejected. A lack of enthusiasm could mean someone is pre-occupied and busy wrestling with their own deeper issues, or other matters that they may want to keep privately for the time being, or may prefer to be more cautious.
2. Ask for what you need. Don't assume that people are mind readers, communicate your needs directly it may take courage to express your true thoughts, but you're more likely than not to get positive results.
3. Re-adjust your expectations. Are you secretly of the mindset that in order for others to truly support and love you they will entertain you, pay your bills, and make themselves available at your convenience? If you’re frequently disappointed, you may be demanding too much.
4. Be subjective. Really get to know and consider others’ strengths and resources before you make a request. Maybe you have one friend who makes you laugh, another who is a great listener and solution focused, while another is happy to babysit.
5. Broaden your social circle. Avoid putting too much pressure on any one individual. A wide and diverse social circle helps keep others from becoming overburdened.
6. Show your appreciation. Let your loved ones know that you appreciate and is grateful to have them in your life. Send flowers, call or write thank you notes with specific details about their generosity and thoughtfulness.
7. Give back. Healthy relationships are based on mutual support. Be generous with your time, talents, and other resources. If you have the funds don't hold back, treat your friends or family to a fun night out, wine and dine them at yours or theirs favourite restaurant or bar or to a spa day if you know they’re struggling. Be thoughtful wake up early and serve your partner breakfast in bed or plan a surprise weekend getaway.
8. Consider working with a professional. Talking with a therapist such as a counsellor or a life coach can empower you to make positive changes if you feel stuck in old patterns. You can accelerate the healing process and learn new coping skills.
Becoming More Self-Reliant
Learning to depend on yourself may help you receive more co-operation from others. You will attain greater respect trust and when others see that you are independent and you are striving to reach your goals.
You can start becoming more self-reliant by...
1. Growing your confidence level. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Give yourself credit for going beyond your comfort zone and trying new things. Celebrate your authenticity instead of comparing yourself to others.
2. Boosting your motivation. Remember the purpose behind your activities. Use your self- talk to bolster your courage and the commitment you made to yourself as well as to reassure yourself. Focus on being consistent and persevering through challenges.
3. Adopting a growth mindset. Use your leisure time or workplace programs to acquire more knowledge and skills. Make a life long learning commitment to constant and never ending self-improvement. There is always room to grow.
4. Challenging yourself. Set goals that are realistic and compelling for you. Break big projects down into smaller steps. Create manageable action plans that will enable you to evaluate your performance.
5. Practicing self-care. Eating a balanced diet with at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Exercising regularly, sleeping well, and learning how to manage stress will form healthy lifestyle habits which will keep you strong, fit and energetic.
Your support system helps you through tough times and adds meaning to your life. But by becoming more self-reliant you will ensure that you will successfully be able to set the course of your life without needing an excessive amount of assistance from others. You will spend less time focusing on your external support and more on your internal support. This will enable you and your loved ones to support and encourage each other more effectively.