Not everyone can be supportive or helpful with every situation. Some people will actually be the opposite of supportive and make your feel worse. These same people may be the best person to go to for support in a different situation.
For example, even though you may love your mom and get along very well, she may never be the person you can vent to about stress with your partner or children – she may simply have a different parenting style or set of values about how you choose to live that part of your life. She may not understand, and therefore comes off as unsupportive in that regard. That is not to say she does not love you… your mom may be the best person to talk to when it comes to work stress or worries about your health and wellbeing.
It is important to pay attention to the way we feel when we lean on people for support. If you continually feel bad after going to a specific person about a specific problem, try someone else.
Really think it through to build the most supportive support network…
Make a list of people you can contact if you need support or distraction. Examples: your best friend, other friends, partner, sibling, parent, grandparent, other relative, co-worker, online support, therapist, spiritual leader, etc.
Divide the list of people into categories by asking yourself the following questions:
- Who can I call if I am feeling depressed or anxious?
- Who can I call if I am lonely?
- Who will come over to be with me if I need company?
- Who will listen?
- Who will encourage me to get out of the house and do something fun?
- Who can I talk to about my weight management struggles?
- Who will engage in a healthy activity with me when I am not up to doing it alone?
- Who will remind me to follow my self-care plan?
Next, make a list of who to avoid when you are having a hard time…
Examples of people to avoid:
- My partner broke up with me. I will not call my sister as she always hated him. She’ll be happy he’s gone.
- I didn’t get my assignment in on time and I’m worried about my grade. I will not call my dad. He is a stickler for doing things in advance so that they are never late. He’ll just give me a hard time.
- I am discouraged about my grades. I won’t call my best friend because she’ll just tell me not to worry about it and to quit school if it’s such a hassle.
- I am stressed about my job. I will not talk to my husband, as he will tell me to “buck up” and just deal with it, saying not everyone is happy at work – or, I will worry he thinks I am weak because I cannot handle it.
- I am upset about my weight. I won’t talk to my wife about this, because she will comment on anything I overate for the week – or, she will tell me it’s not a big deal and comment that I have an easier time losing weight in general because I am a guy, so not losing weight this time doesn’t matter.
Even when people love us, they do not always realize how the things they say impact us. The wrong interaction with a person has the power to really change your mood and get you off track for the day. Try to go to the people who can be supportive about the specific issue you are dealing with. If you don’t have anyone you find supportive, seek out support online such as with a weight loss online network, or try a therapist.