My support system is small but strong. Throughout the years, I’ve had various networks of people who “supported me.” I put those words in quotations because, to me, there are different levels of support. Each category is different and brings with it a specific set of qualities.
Levels of support
In my book, there are three levels of support. There are those who “kind of” support you. By this, I mean their support is wishy-washy, inconsistent, and reliant upon several factors such as how you help them. It’s this kind of support I was subjected to much throughout my childhood and even adult life, but have carefully chosen to remove. To that point, I have carefully woven the fabric of my support system. Partially accomplished through my intentions and partly because of life. Keywords being:
Because of life
Growing up, we all move in different directions. We each have a different course in life, and the support system you once had may be different now, and that’s okay. Often, people get upset that their once thought to be unbreakable support system has shattered. It’s in these moments we must recognize two things, acceptance of the fact that our support system at 14 and 24 years old may be entirely different and who consists of our actual support system.
You see, we are all guilty of judging the individuals in our lives who flaked on us over the years. You know, people who bounced in and out showing signs of support but never fully being there. These individuals, though, played a crucial role at some point in your life.
Ask yourself this question. Rather than harboring bitterness towards these people and their inconsistency, why not celebrate them for the select times they were there? Nobody said you have to throw them a party. But these people and the moments they were there for you, even if they were seldom, are blessings themselves. By acknowledging them, you show gratitude.
To take this thankfulness to the next level, consider those who weren’t there for you much at all. Have you ever stopped to think maybe this person you thought would be there for you had so much going on in their lives they couldn’t even be there for themselves? We must ask ourselves hardball questions like this when evaluating our support system. Yet, it’s this mindset which lends itself towards gratitude and, ultimately, leads us to be more appreciative of those who have always been there for us.
The great ones
In my personal experience, I can count on one, maybe one and a half hands how many people have been there for me throughout most of my life, including first and foremost, my parents. My parents have been and still are the rocks in my life. The good, the bad, the ugly, it didn’t and doesn’t matter. They have been there for me every step of the way, providing physical, mental, and moral support, in ways only parents really could. They are constants in my life, and for that, I am forever grateful. More recently, my girlfriend is too. She provides support, similar to my parents. You know, the unwavering kind.
Then there’s my sister and best friends, who I grew up with at different stages of my life. Although not there every single day like my parents and girlfriend, these people were supportive and helped shape the person I am today by sticking with me through various times in my life. While they may not have been there every moment, they were there in moments that mattered.
If just by acknowledging your actual support system, you feel good, you know it’s real. When thinking about my support system, I trace my steps back five, ten, or even fifteen years. I think about how these individuals impacted me and helped me grow. How through times of happiness, despair, and triumph, they were there through it all. It makes me thankful.
Currently, my family, girlfriend, and best friends who have, more often than not, been there for me, comprise my support system. I don’t have many “friends.” I choose to surround myself with people I know will be there for me and have shown a history of doing so. They support me in all of my endeavors and hope for my success. It's all I could ask for, and I am grateful for every single one of them. You know who you are.