“Was it you or I who stumbled first? It does not matter. The one of us who finds the strength to get up first, must help the other.” ― Vera Nazarian
We all try to do things on our own and that’s great. But if we’re not having success, why do we keep working at it alone? Why don’t we ask for support?
When I was young, I took graduate-level Computer Science classes one summer. The program was intense—two classes in four weeks—and required a Computer Science or Engineering background. Being a Math major, I had neither. Yet I stubbornly did not ask for help. Instead, I was miserable working alone on the coursework. I got through it, but did not return in subsequent summers to attain a Master’s degree.
Over time, I’ve learned that it’s OK to ask for support. After my husband and I had children, I joined a moms’ group for those who had left a career to raise their family.
More recently, I had wanted to lose weight for a few years before I finally joined a weight loss group and quickly lost ten pounds. What I’ve found in the group is accountability. We weigh in every week at meetings. Other members provide camaraderie and tips on losing weight. We share our stories of success and ways to overcome temptations. Now I am at a healthy weight, and the support of the group helps me keep the excess weight off. Why didn’t I join sooner?
Sometimes a group can provide support without being a formal support group. In a Walk & Talk group for women, we talked about a self-improvement topic while walking. I’ve also been in groups for job seekers when I was unemployed. I am lucky to live in the Chicago suburbs, where one can find many groups. One place to look for a group is http://www.meetup.com.
A good way to find support for one’s marriage is to attend a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend (http://wwme.org/). Couples who have attended can join a local WWME community and meet other couples who serve as role models. My husband Ken and I lead a local group.
Other ways to find support are to start a new group, to look for a supportive social media group, and to partner with a friend. My friend Karen and I meet once or twice a week and walk 3 to 4 miles.
A couple of years ago, my friend Krishna and I had a writing-accountability partnership. Krishna lives in Atlanta but we checked in with each other on Skype and reviewed each other’s work. Having that appointment gave me good motivation to write.
Several years ago, I was in a running group that made running fun. Everyone cheered for each other and shared a passion for running. Unfortunately, the group eventually disbanded and I stopped running. Now I’m running again and am searching for someone to run with on weekdays. The other day, I ran at a local arboretum and saw a small group of women running. Boldly, I asked if they were part of a running group. They were not, they were simply a group of friends running that day, but I’m confident I’ll find the right support soon. Meanwhile, I post my workouts in a Facebook group and receive “likes,” which inspires me to exercise daily.
What about you? Is there a goal you’ve been trying to meet without success? Have you looked for support?
For years I was in a pottery group called Clay as the Way that combined guided therapy and hand building objects with clay. A group of women sitting together, sharing their stories why playing with clay. We had a wonderful teacher leading us. Thanks for your post reminding me to find another group, maybe one that can help with aging parents .
Gerlinde, what a great group for anyone who enjoys working with clay! Best wishes on your search for support in dealing with your aging parents.
I love this. You’re speaking my language. I’ve done something similar with a friend who had her own business. We called it co-coaching and you’re right, the accountability is what made it effective. I’m a huge community builder too and I believe it is the element of community which often grows in groups such as the ones you describe which makes them so wonderful.
I don’t know if we have meetups in our area. Will look into it.
I have tried several things during my lifetime, some successfully, some not so much. You are right about getting support. it often makes a difference.
I have been trying to lose weight for over 20 years, with little success. I have tried weight loss support groups, formal and informal, joined gyms several times. All because after I had my baby at 19 my husband said I was fat. OH! If only I weighed now what I weighed then! I am still struggling with this issue, it has become a bigger problem over the years, pun intended! I have finally decided to quit worrying about weight loss. Instead, with the support of my doctor and my parents, I am focusing on getting off medications, eating whole foods, and swimming to strengthen back and leg muscles. Maybe this time….
I am also an ordained minister. When I was first ordained as a deacon in 2004 I chose a mentor. Another woman, because who else would understand all that it is to be a female in the priesthood? She was like a second mother to me, and I did excel. Four years later I was ordained to the office of Elder and again I chose the same mentor. This relationship worked wonders and let to a long time friendship.
Now, I am attempting to become a writer, and to enhance my abilities of Reiki. So, I have joined a Meetup for each one! It was so encouraging to be with other writers, writers of all levels of experience. Published, unpublished, educated, retirees, home-schooling mothers, young adults, and me, the unschooled one. Very supportive group and I know I am going to learn so much and find my courage!
I really appreciated those good words about finding support. We are so in need of that kind of community and are duped by idea that it is somehow “less than” to ask for it. What it is really “less than” is our isolated pride. We are okay to admit our humanity and to also be willing to extend it to others. Thank you!!
This a great article. It helps many of us to find support and also to be supportive. Thank you for your other interesting articles in the past. They are all very interesting, and supportive to so many of us.
I whole heartedly agree with your post, Susan. Support is a beautiful thing. One area I often to forget to tap into is asking God for help. When I do quite often He points me in the direction of other people. 🙂
What an inspiring, encouraging post. Thank you for it, and for such a great quote. I keep a “commonplace” book, where quotes and such are penned (yes, penned). The quote is now inked and will remain a reminder.
Probably my best support group right now is my garden club; they provide me with much more ballast than just plants.
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