None of us can do this alone.
When it comes to self-improvement and building confidence, we all need help sometimes.
So, today I want to show you how you can create a support network in your life.
But First… What Is A Support Network?
Having a support network is not the same thing as having friends.
After all, there are probably things that you’d be willing to tell your support network that you wouldn’t tell your general social circle.
But there are just as many benefits of learning how to create a support network as there are to having a thriving social circle.
So, what exactly is a support network?
Well, everyone’s support network is a little bit different. However, it usually consists of friends, family, mentors, colleagues or anyone that you can trust with the high-level things in your life.
As the name would suggest, these are the people who will support you through the hard times in life.
You can have a general support network or you can find them for very specific things too.
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- Men’s groups
- Abuse recovery groups
So, Why Do You Need To Know How To Create A Support Network?
Well, there's a few reasons for this.
The first reason is that support networks can really help you through stressful times in your life.
They are there as a literal support system to hold you up and to provide you with the help, advice, guidance and the empathy that you need to get through whatever is going on in your life.
It's also very great for your overall levels of self-esteem.
Because when you have a support network, it means that people care for you, love you and want the best for you.
And that’s great for your self-esteem since it makes it even easier to find acceptance and love for yourself.
My personal experience with having a support network is that it has helped me tremendously.
Throughout when I was struggling with depression and anxiety, my support network was there for me.
How To Define Your Support Network
Now, importantly, a support network does not have to be formally defined, like Alcoholics Anonymous.
In fact, most support networks are informal structures that you've put together in your mind of people you can trust to help you through certain things.
One of my main problems when I was suffering with anxiety and depression was that I didn't feel like people cared for me.
And I didn't feel like I had those connections.
But, when I started seeing a therapist I started to understand that I do have those connections.
There were still people that cared about me, no matter how I felt about myself.
So, my support network began small and slowly grew.
How My Support Network Grew
At first, it was just my therapist and one friend that I trusted with my secrets about my mental health.
Because at that point in my life, I had a reputation as being this happy, funny guy with a weird personality. Only a few people new that I was really suffering behind the scenes.
And, out of all of those people, only one was trusted enough to talk to.
But, with time, that support network grew.
And the more it grew and the more help I received, the better my life became.
This then made it even easier to grow my support network.
One of the key things to remember is that it's always going to be easier to build up a support network when times are good.
And if times are good for you right now then this is when I would recommend you start to build a support network.
Because it’s a little more difficult when you’ve got a massive struggle going on.
But if it happens, to come to the case where it is time to build a support network and maybe you’re not in an amazing place, here’s how you can do it.
Who Can You Trust?
So the first thing that you are going to want to do is ask yourself, who do I trust?
Or, more specifically, who do I trust with this problem?
Because there's different people in my life that I will trust with certain problems that I wouldn't entrust with others.
For example, I have friends at work that I would not discuss my finances with.
But I have friends that I am a lot closer with that I would discuss my finances with.
So to build a support network you firstly need to ask yourself, who is in your life that you can trust with whatever the main issue is.
And in certain cases, the answer is very much going to surprise you.
I did not realize that I had so many people in my life that wanted to help me and that were willing to help me until I started asking myself about who I trusted
And I'm going to go over some kind of best practices for building a support network a little bit later on.
However one of the things I should remind you of is that other people have their own problems too.
And sometimes they might not be available to help you through what you need help with at this moment.
And that is why I encourage you to build a support network, not fall back on a support person.
The key thing here is that this is all about support and not about reliance.
You have to take responsibility for the actions you are going to take and the consequences.
Your support network is there to just help you through that rather than making the decisions for you and taking the responsibility away.
The responsibility for action taking is all yours.
But What Do You Do If There’s No One In Your Life?
Now you might very well believe that there is absolutely no one in your life that you can trust.
And I initially thought this as well.
I didn't think that there was anybody that I could trust.
I grew up with a lot of trust issues.
In fact, it was one of my main problems for quite some time.
I did eventually realised that it came down to me being afraid of rejection than wanting to be helped.
And once I was able to recognise that I was just scared of being rejected, it became a little less scary to actually go and ask for help.
But if there are genuinely no people in your life that you can trust then let’s talk a little bit about how you can go about building up a support network.
How To Create A Support Network From Nothing
Well, the first thing is to remember that we are all connected.
Every single one of us.
And not in some spiritual or esoteric way.
I mean, literally if you're reading this, then you are connected to billions of other people through this thing called the internet.
There are billions of people on Facebook, on Twitter, Instagram and Reddit.
You can find Facebook groups and forums where you can connect to people who are going through the same problems with you and who are willing to be supportive.
Now, the only downside I would say to things like Facebook groups and forums is that sometimes that they can become a bit of a pit of despair.
Sometimes, people will just use it to vent all of their frustrations and never give back.
And it can become a very negative environment in that way.
So I would be careful of getting too involved with groups and forums and things like that where It's more about complaining rather than action taking and genuine support.
But there are thousands (maybe even more) places where you can find a sense of community online.
And at first it may not seem like it, but never underestimate the power of the internet to connect us with likeminded people.
Offline Support Networks
You can also join clubs or societies as a great place to meet new people.
There’s a website called MeetUp where you can find all kinds of different clubs, societies, and just people meeting up to do all kinds of things:
- Running clubs
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Jiu Jitsu
There is something on there for everyone.
And even if you can't find a specific meetup that you want you can start your own as well.
And I guarantee that there will be at least a few people out there who will be willing to join as well.
You could also consider taking some kind of class.
Maybe you could go back to college or university or just do a weekend course where you are regularly interacting with people.
And that can be a really, really good place to meet friends and meet people who could eventually become part of your support network.
Now, not everyone you meet is going to be eligible to be a part of your support network.
But it is good to go out and meet people as often as you possibly can.
Guidelines For Creating An Amazing Support Network
The first thing is to remember that it is always a two-way street with support networks.
There's always going to be a time to take.
There’s also going to be a time to give.
It’s all part of the game and it's not all about you.
A support network is a bunch of people helping each other - even if it isn't a formalised group.
Definitely don't just dump or vent all of your problems at people.
That's not going to be helpful. And it can be a very, very selfish thing to do.
So make sure that you are being respectful of other people and of their time.
You also don't want to become overly dependent on your support network, either.
You have to build up your reliance on yourself.
You have to be responsible for your actions.
People can help you and give you advice and support.
But there is nobody that can actually go out there and do the things you need to do.
You have to do that yourself.
So, make sure that you are always being empathetic and kind. Especially if you're on the giving side of the support network.
Always make sure that you are holding a place of empathy within you.
Not feeling sorry for the them, but just feeling with them
And that is what empathy is all about.
Embrace The Vulnerability
And then the final thing is that you must embrace the vulnerability of it.
After all, there is a lot of vulnerability when it comes to a support network.
You’re sharing intimate problems that you are really struggling with in certain cases, whether that'd be a personal, emotional, spiritual or anything else.
And that can be scary.
You have to be able to embrace that vulnerability and know that sometimes you're not going to get the response that you thought that you were going to get.
And that is absolutely okay as well.
Sometimes, it might feel uncomfortable sharing yourself with others.
But you will become a better person for it.
Final Thoughts On How To Create A Support Network
So, who have you got in your life as part of your support network?
If not, what can you start to do today to create a support network in your life?
Whether it’s a friend, family member, therapist or mentor, you will need a support network to improve your personal growth and your confidence.
So start today and you will not regret it.
If you have any questions about how to create a support network, make sure to leave a comment down below!
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- Take your life and confidence to the next level
- Achieve your goals faster than you ever thought was possible
- Finally overcome self-doubt and become the person you’ve always known you could become
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