Do you ever feel unsupported?
I sure have. In fact, for years my story was that I had no support.
Many women feel unsupported, as if unseen and unheard, believing no one is there for them when they need help.
I recently took some time to explore my relationship with support, and really understand where the overwhelm comes from that shows up as “I never have the support I need.”
Re-examining the Story
As I dove deeper into my relationship with support, it was not surprising to see that I had an old story that believed I was not supported. I could feel the falsity of this story, and wanted to understand why it still felt so real at times.
I began by writing all the ways in which I’ve been supported in my life.
The list went on and on. I had everything from a gentle smile or wink of encouragement that said, “You’ve got this,” to help with moving, to contributions of funds for a much needed surgery I couldn’t afford, and so much more.
The level of support I’ve received in my life is humbling. I was moved to tears looking at my list.
Seeing the many ways I’ve been supported in my life, I became angry at myself for ever feeling unsupported. Yet the feelings are real when they show up, but why?
Why was I going to the story of feeling unsupported, like I have to do everything myself, like no one “gets” me, etc. whenever I feel overwhelmed?
Well, first of all, our stories are never trustworthy when we’re in a state of overwhelm.
We need to pause and step out of the overwhelm to a bird’s eye view of the situation. This usually requires a bit of stillness, letting go, self-care, and a willingness to see from a new perspective rather than stay caught in the story that perpetuates the overwhelm.
In order to examine my stories of being unsupported, or more specifically, what triggered me to go into these stories, I had to also look at the ways in which I was truly not supported.
As I recalled and journaled experiences of not feeling supported, I realized that most of the pain was coming from childhood.
Our childhood wounds often drive the stories we tell ourselves.
Creating a New Story
While there were many very real ways in which I was not supported in my childhood, I was also able to begin to see the ways in which I was.
As children, we attach our sense of safety to the ways in which we feel cared for and supported in our life, particularly by our primary caregivers.
What’s important to understand is that we tend to attach that sense of safety to the ways we ‘felt’ and not necessarily to how things actually were.
That’s not to say that how we felt wasn’t real.
Our feelings are real, but the stories that generate them are often not.
For me, I felt that support from my parents had a price or cost, that it came with “strings attached” and that it could be taken away in an instant. I felt that support was conditional, only available if they felt I or what I was doing was worthy of support.
There were many times when I needed support as a child, but didn’t realize what support I needed, or how to ask for it. This had me feeling abandoned and scared.
There were times I thought I would have support, only to be disappointed when it was not there.
I don’t share these feelings as a statement of blame toward my parents. Nothing they did was out of any intention to deny me support. I’m quite sure there are plenty of things I’ve done or said that have in some way caused my boys to also feel unsupported.
I share these feelings to honor them and learn from them.
Seeing our feelings allows us to piece together the narrative, and the many wounds from which it came.
We need to first see the story we’re living with, and where it came from, in order to dismantle it, see the story from a broader perspective, and create a new story.
As adults stepping into the truth of who we are, attuning to our inner wisdom, we can look back and tell an old story from a new perspective.
As a parent, I can now look at the many ways my parents did the best they knew how with the tools, resources, understanding and skills they had at the time.
With new understanding, I can generate a new narrative, and in generating a new narrative, I can give myself the support I thought I didn’t have.
Language is generative, and thus the narrative is important.
My old narrative of being unsupported was generating a life for me in which I found it difficult to ask for and receive support, and especially difficult to trust support.
Understanding that the old narrative that believed I was not supported was only ‘part’ of the story, and that there were many other factors at play, allows me to create a new story that focuses on the many ways in which I have been supported in my life.
Exploring a new narrative is a powerful form of support for ourselves, and in doing so, our whole life can begin to change toward the future we know is possible.
Support in All its Glory
As we learn to change our stories from one of not feeling or being supported to one of knowing we are supported, we begin to see support everywhere, in all its many faces.
While shifting our story is an important step on the journey, it’s far from complete, as narrative is only a small aspect of the reality of our being.
We need to delve deeper into the essence of our being, deep into the center of our energy and inner wisdom, and actually experience for ourselves the reality of existence.
From this place of center, groundedness, being-ness, we can see the many faces of support that are constantly available to us.
There’s support in the first buds of Spring that tell us, “Well done! You got through another long winter!”
There’s support in the beautiful smiles of the grocery store employees that we’ve not seen for 2 years since we all masked up, which say to us, “Thank you for being here.”
We have support in the warmth of the sun upon our skin as it says to us, “I love you, and shine for you every day without fail to help you remember your light and warmth.”
The invisible realms of support that include our ancestors, Spirit beings and guides, and the cosmic energy of the Universe whisper, “You’re stronger than you realize, and have all that you need available to you.”
There’s support in the earth beneath our feet, saying “I’ve got you. You’re supported with every step on this journey through life.”
We need only pause for a moment, listen, and look around to see and feel the amazing support available to us in every moment.