25 Aug 2018 20:39 IST

Do you have a robust support system?

Don’t seek help and support only in the bad times

In an earlier article I had written about the exercise called the Wheel of Life. This is a simple tool to balance all the aspects of a person’s life and, therefore, achieve harmony.

One of the aspects I’d mentioned was “support system” and the fact that it needs to be balanced to have a harmonious life. What exactly is a support system?

A support system is the sum total of all the components that gives support to our life in varied forms. That is:

Routine and regular physical support

This is the face of your support system as it is seen almost every day and there are regular interactions. It could be the maid, your hostel helper, the person who cleans your vehicle, or even your friend or parents to whom you turn to for help.

Unfortunately this is also the one which is taken for granted the most. Maybe it’s the routine, the repetitive nature of interactions, which tends to blur this into the background; or the fact that such people always seem to be around, thus making us think they are a default presence. Neither of these are a valid excuse for taking it for granted.

This is especially true for the daily help whom we tend to take for granted as they are being paid. Keep in mind that money as a motivator has a limited role. Personal interest, respect and value for the work done motivates the people that are a part of this aspect of support system far more effectively. The very least one could do would be to notice and appreciate the support being extended.

Emotional and psychological support

This comprises people who are friends, parents, close relatives, significant others, close colleagues, a boss who is a mentor, and the like.

Basically, this aspect of support system consists of anyone you are comfortable with and can turn to for advice, reassurance, motivation, guidance, and the like. Like the people who provide routine and regular support, we tend to take this support system also for granted.

Emotional closeness or sense of comfort is not an excuse for ignoring this support system. Don’t reach out to such people only when you need a shoulder to cry on; be in touch even when everything is fine and share your happiness with them. They deserve to see the positives in your lives too.

Another important aspect of this support is to be open-minded when seeking it. Essentially, a person is asking for help and that cannot be done in a conditional manner. In many instances people reach out for advice, guidance and emotional leaning with a preconceived idea about what is expected. They need to remember that reaching out for this kind of support is done because the situation is beyond one’s capability. In such a case, expecting to hear what one wants is totally self defeating.

A common instance of such behaviour is when people reach out for career guidance. Invariably, when they share their resume, they find it very difficult to accept feedback. They just want contacts to get them a job. To top it off, they don’t want just any job; suddenly, they become very choosy and demanding.

In many instances, I have shared simple feedback — that the resume can be restructured to make it more appealing — to even detailed feedback — that their expectations from a job change is not in line with their education and/ or skills. It is amusing to see the response in most instances, which could vary from becoming upset to outright demanding whether I can get them a job or not. What the person forgets is that they had sought and the least that they can do is be appreciate that someone has invested some time and effort in going through their resume in order to help them.

I shall tell you, in detail, about the third and most important support system in my next article.

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