As social beings, humans require a strong support network of other humans to function at our best. Generally speaking we rely upon each other for encouragement and validation, something which is apparent in us even in early infancy. We rely on the support of others throughout our early years, our educations and in many of the things we do in daily life.
There’s no question that it is good for us to feel upheld and validated by others on many different levels. In childhood we’ll ideally have parents offering us most of that needed support. However, the truth is, in adulthood there are many reasons why we may not have an optimal level of support. We can’t always control the people who are around us or how prepared or able to assist us they may be. At times you may even ask directly for support from a parent, spouse or other person, and find that they are simply unable to give you what you need.
Sometimes we just don’t have access to outside support, and we need to learn how to cope anyway. The bottom line is, what you do with your life is your responsibility. If you want to reach your goals, not having adequate help is not going to stop you. I want to help you use your own inner resources to work through this problem.
The first and most important thing you need to focus on is learning to be self-supporting. While it is true that in infancy and early childhood we require guidance through just about everything we do, in adulthood we should be a lot more independent. It is very human to require some level of feedback, interaction, praise and so on but we should be more self sufficient in providing this as we mature. A lack of this support should not shut us down.
The truth is that many of us rely on other people to supply what we should be giving to ourselves. Learning to be self-supporting requires a commitment to listen to and respect yourself. You should treat yourself the way you’d treat a close friend. Your dialogue with yourself should be positive and uplifting, but honest. Your actions and self care should reflect a love for yourself and appreciation for your gifts.
Find ways that you can support yourself in loving actions and words throughout each and every day.
Many people have an inner dialogue focused around negativity and self-doubt that actually breaks a person down from the inside. Often these are messages that we’ve picked up from other sources (parents, siblings etc.) and now play on repeat in our heads. These are ugly words like ‘you’re so stupid’, ‘no one has time to listen to you’, ‘I don’t know why you bother’ or ‘you never do anything right’.
Poor self dialogue can be very difficult to stop and tends to halt the maturation process when it comes to being more self-supportive. It is quite possible you may require a professional to help lead you through changing this harmful habit. However, it is totally possible to transform the way you think about yourself! Please do seek out this type of assistance if you need it.
While self-support is vitally important to develop, it is generally not possible to provide all of our own needs in this area. This is simply in our makeup as humans. Even if you have the most robust self-validating habits you will still find times that you just need to reach out to someone. Consider the areas in which you generally feel like you need more support:
- when your own inner resources are running low
- when you need fresh inspiration
- to help locate sources of information and education
- to feel as though someone cares about you and what you are doing
- to run your ideas by
- for advice or critique
- for general encouragement
- for validation that your thoughts and concerns are important
You also require different types of support for different areas of your life. Think of the difference between the type of support you need in your family life, and the type you need in your specific area of art. Obviously, you may not find all of these supportive people in one place, and a source for one thing may not be able to offer support in another.
So how do you find the support you need in all of these different areas?
It’s a good idea to brainstorm possibilities here that suit your specific circumstances. Have you thought about:
- churches near you
- family members
- local groups and gatherings (check at your library)
- other parents at your kids’ school
- existing friends that share a similar background or interests as you
- parenting support facilities
Is the support you need more related to your work? It’s unfortunate but true that often family and friends are not the best sources to look to for validation of your creative work. Often they truly just don’t understand it or the challenges of creating it. Perhaps try exploring these other options as a starting point:
- online groups
- local classes
- online classes
I’ve found a great supportive group for my specific type of sculpture work. The other members in the group encourage me and critique my work when I need them to. I located them through the web page for the relevant guild. Guilds are often a fabulous source of education, friendship, networking, up-to-date industry news and more. I highly recommend researching whether or not there are any active guilds for your medium.
Whatever your area of art or creating may be, try to find ‘your’ people, the group of people who you click with, who seem to ‘get’ you. Often you will find that the people who understand your art are a great source of support in other areas of your life as well.
The main things to remember are to support yourself as much as possible, and to be proactive if you need additional help. Don’t just wait and hope it comes to you. If you feel that you are lacking in feedback, validation or just someone who understands where you’re at right now in any area of your life, take responsibility for getting this need met. Refuse to let a lack of support be a roadblock for you on the path to your goals.